Nicholas Balboa was on the beach with his dog when he heard a rumbling sound that he thought was thunder. He spoke to The Associated Press by telephone Friday. He realized something was wrong and dropped his dog off outside.
Residents began to flood the streets, pointing out a hole in the ground and a dust cloud that indicated that a seaside condominium tower had fallen. It was quieter on the back side. He began taking photos of the wreckage and heard what sounded almost like a child's cry.
Balboa, 31 years old, climbed through a pile glass and rebar wearing his flip-flops in desperate attempt to reach the top.
Balboa stated, "Keep screaming so that I can hear your voice," Balboa soon noticed a hand emerging from the rubble.
Jonah Handler, a boy, stated that he and Stacie Fang were the only people in the condo that collapsed after a portion of the building fell. He kept asking his mother about his mom. Balboa, a stranger, tried to remove the rubble around Jonah but it was too heavy. Balboa described it as a support beam or wall.
"I'll be back. Balboa tried to comfort the boy by saying, "I'm going to get some help."
The boy cried, "Please don’t leave me, please leave me!"
Jonah's rescue video has been playing on repeat on the news. It tugged at hearts as rescuers using flashlights helped him emerge from under a pile cement and twisted steel, and then carried him off on a stretcher.
Lisa Mozloom, a close friend of the family, told the AP that Jonah is in good health. He's a miracle." Mozloom stated that Jonah was taken to the hospital once, but that he was now "stable".
Authorities claim at least four people were killed in the collapse of the building. With 159 others still missing, they are concerned that the death toll could rise. Although they have not made public the identities of those who died, Mozloom confirmed Fang’s death.
In a statement Mozloom issued on her behalf, family members said that "there are no words to express the tragic loss of Stacie," They expressed deep gratitude to all who reached out, and said that the "many heartfelt messages of encouragement and love" provided them with much-needed strength during this difficult time.
The family asked for privacy "on behalf Stacie's son Jonah," stating that they needed time to grieve and try to heal each other.
Balboa stated that he was devastated to hear about Fang's passing.
He said, "I just lost my mom so I know what it's going be like."