The search for answers: Jose Pereira’s death in Sea Isle City balcony collapse leaves 3 orphans behind

Family and friends of José Pereira are trying to understand the tragic death of the father of three daughters when a balcony collapsed on him while he was working to repair a condominium building in New Jersey.

Family and friends of Jose Pereira are still trying to understand his tragic death, which occurred Friday when a balcony collapsed on him while he was working to repair a condominium building in Sea Isle City, New Jersey.

It took rescuers several hours to cut 12 inches of reinforced concrete from the exterior wall to create an opening to reach Pereira. Heavy airbags were then used to lift the concrete slab until they could pull him out. He was pronounced dead at 9:52 p.m. Friday, more than seven hours after the accident, police said, according to station NJ101.5 FM.

Pereira (43), his brother, and another person were working in the south tower of Spinnaker Condominiums at 3600 Boardwalk around 2:30 p.m. Friday when the tragedy that left three orphaned girls happened.

Pereira, a 43-year-old Philadelphia resident who worked for a private contractor outside the building, was on the 7th-floor balcony, while her brother and the other worker were on the 8th-floor balcony.

In the middle of the day, the 8th-floor balcony collapsed on top of him, trapping him under thousands of pounds of debris. Miraculously, his brother and the other worker suffered only minor injuries.

Firefighters from several departments, police, and various search and rescue teams responded and attempted to pull Pereira from the rubble.

Capt. Matt Johnson of the Cape May County Urban Search and Rescue Team spoke to NBC News about the challenges responders faced upon arrival. “We don’t know what caused this collapse, so we must consider the worst-case scenario, keeping those other floors from collapsing. We’re guessing each floor weighs about 11,000 pounds. So it’s quite a bit of work to stabilize that before we can send our rescuers in to perform a rescue.

Rescuers attempted to reach Pereira on Friday night but observed significant cracks in the surrounding area and a slope toward the balcony. They then determined that the side of the building was unsafe. At that point, all residents of the building were evacuated.

The rescue operation then turned into a body recovery effort. “The collapse crushed him,” said Sea Isle City Police Lt. Jim McQuillen. “We have now changed from a rescue effort to a recovery.

60%The number of the 45 million deck structures in America with safety issuesThe International Association of Certified Home Inspectors
90%The number of deck collapses that occur from failure of the ledger (connection to the home or building)The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors
0.25 millionThe number of people who needed medical treatment for deck or balcony-related injuries over five yearsU.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
20,000The number of injuries caused by partial structural failure or total collapseU.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC)
21%The average increase in deck collapses per yearMorse Technologies
4,600The number of emergency room visits associated with deck collapsesCPSC
1,900The number of emergency room visits tied to porch failuresCPSC
239The number of major deck or balcony collapses reported through the newsFrank Woeste and Bruce Barker
Statistics on porch or balcony collapse according to The Killino Firm, P.C.