Daniel Groves was on vacation with his family in Surfside, staying on the second floor of a hotel next to the Champlain Towers when the collapse occurred.
The family was “dead asleep” when the collapse occurred around 1:20 am, he said.
“It literally sounded like a bomb exploded, like it was the loudest thing I have ever heard in my life,” Groves told CNN. “The whole building shook. I mean, I felt like we were in the worst earthquake of my life.”
“It shook very violently,” he added.
Groves said he opened the curtains in his hotel room and couldn’t see more than four to five feet, but noticed a large crack in the glass where debris hit. He said he thought they were in a tornado and started yelling at his wife to get up just as the alarms started ringing in the building.
He and his wife grabbed their children, aged 3 and 7, leaving all their belongings behind and ran away a few blocks. Groves then took a video of the immediate aftermath of the collapse, still unsure of what happened. The video shows the pile of rubble and debris littering the area.
“The scariest thing. I thought a tornado had literally hit and they just said no, the building is gone,” the video was heard.
He and his family have since gone to Disney to try and “get some joy” after the tragedy.
“It’s not really good. My kids are really shaken up,” Groves said. “Flushes, my kids are screaming.… A bell in the elevator rings, my kids are holding their ears. I don’t know what the long term effects will be.”
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