SURFSIDE, Fla. – The death toll continues to rise as crews clear the rubble at the collapsed condominium in Surfside, Florida, but one family had a small glimmer of happiness.
Binx, a male black cat that lived on the ninth floor of the Champlain Towers South condo, was found safe near the site, the Miami Herald reported.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of Kitty Campus, an animal rescue organization, wrote in a Facebook post. “Today was one of the most amazing days. One of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her family’s cat, and it was!”
“I’m happy to be able to share a small piece of good news,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during Friday evening’s news conference. “Binx, a cat, living on the ninth floor of Champlain Towers South, was recently found near the site.
“And a few hours ago, was reunited with his family.”
Levine Gonzalez said Friday evening that another body was found in the rubble, boosting the death total to 79 with 61 people still unaccounted for.
“A black cat resembling Binx from #904 was brought to our facility last night by FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency),” Vlasek wrote on Facebook. “Authorities from all over have been in and out of our Miami Beach office since last night. The cat was found near the rubble.”
Social media was buzzing about the cat, comparing the South Florida feline to one of the characters in the 1993 Disney film, “Hocus Pocus.” In the film, Thackery Binx was transformed into an immortal black cat.
The Surfside Binx lived in unit 904 of the condo with family and had been missing since the night of the collapse, the Herald reported.
The cat belongs to the Gonzalez family, according to WSVN. Angela and her 16-year-old daughter, Deven Gonzalez, were seriously injured in the collapse, while Edgar Gonzalez is still missing, the television station reported. Another daughter, Tayler, and their dog, Daisy, also lived in the unit, according to the Herald.
Angela and Deven Gonzalez were among the first to be pulled from the rubble and were hospitalized, the newspaper reported. Tayler was not in the building when it collapsed.
Maria Gaspari, a friend of the Gonzalez family, told WSVN that finding Binx was “a miracle.”
“In the middle of this sadness, we were hoping for good news either for any survivors or any pet,” Gaspari told the television station. “As you may know, pets are family, and this is a miracle. I’m shaking right now. I’m a friend of a family member, and we just got the confirmation that there is a cat.
“That’s actually Deven’s cat, so I’m sure she’s going to be over the moon knowing that they found her cat,” Gaspari told WSVN. “I just can’t believe it. I just couldn’t believe it when we received the confirmation. This is a miracle for the whole Surfside community.”
On Friday, the Gonzalez family’s verified GoFundMe page said that Angela Gonzalez was awake and talking, the Herald reported. Deven Gonzalez was beginning to walk with the use of a walker and could be released from the hospital soon, the newspaper reported.
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