SURFSIDE, Fla. – In the early hours of Thursday, Mike Stratton, who was on a business trip, suddenly received a phone call from his wife back home in Surfside.
Suddenly, he heard his wife, Cassondra, speaking frantically about their oceanfront condo building trembling.
It was around 1:30 a.m., and Cassondra was standing on the balcony of their apartment on the fourth floor of Champlain Towers South overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.
Little did they both know then that it might have been the final words they would ever say to one another.
According to NBC News, Cassondra told him she saw a sinkhole where the pool out her window used to be. Then, the line went dead.
“It was 1:30 a.m., I’ll never, never forget that,” he said.
Monday, June 21, was the last time Mike saw Cassondra, who he calls “Cassie,” when he departed Miami on the business trip to Washington, D.C.
The couple have been married since 2015.
Now, Cassie, who is a 40-year-old local pilates instructor, is one of the 145 victims who remain unaccounted for in the rubble of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building at 8777 Collins Avenue.
Despite all odds, Mike still hangs on to hope.
In a statement to Local 10, he wrote: “Thank you to everyone who has reached out and is keeping Cassie in their thoughts and prayers, but most of all to the brave men and women working around the clock in unimaginable conditions to bring her and others home. Our family is forever grateful. Cassie is a wife, mother and true friend to so many. She brings a vivacious love of life to everything she does—whether as an actress, model or Pilates instructor. Thank you again for your continued prayers.”
As of Wednesday, June 30, a total of 16 deceased victims have been removed from the rubble of the site.