SURFSIDE, Fla. — As search and rescue teams worked through Thursday evening sifting through the rubble at a South Florida condominium that partially collapsed, family members anxiously awaited news about their loved ones who are unaccounted for.
Barry Cohen, a resident at the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, said he was awakened from “a deep sleep” when he heard the building crumbling to the ground.
“I heard an incredible bang,” Cohen told CNN. “I opened the door and there was a big pile of rubble.
“And there was havoc.”
As of late Thursday night, 102 people have been accounted for, and 99 people are still officially designated as missing. Authorities have not released a full list of the missing people.
Jenny Urgelles told WTVJ that she has been trying to reach her parents, Ray and Mercy Urgelles, since 5:30 a.m. EDT Thursday.
“I can’t believe that this is actually happening,” Jenny Urgelles told the television station. “My emotions are I’m upset, I’m sad, I just feel like it’s like waves of emotion that I’m going through right now. You see the photos (of the collapse) and they’re so awful.”
Gary Cohen, an Alabama doctor who is visiting his terminally ill father at the condominium, is among the missing people, his sister-in-law told ABC News. Cohen has not been answering his phone, Soraya Cohen told the network. Soraya Cohen’s husband, Miami orthopedic surgeon Brad Cohen, 51, was also missing, the woman told ABC News.
A coworker of Brad Cohen said that Gary Cohen was a doctor at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center, AL.com reported.
Relatives of Frank and Anne Kleiman, Nancy Kleiman, Deborah Berezdivin, Ilan Naibryf and Jay Kleiman have shared photos of their loved ones, who have not been seen since the collapse, WTVJ reported.
Naibryf, a 21-year-old student at the University of Chicago, and his girlfriend, Berezdivin, were inside the building, WMAQ reported. Naibryf’s mother posted on Facebook asking for information about her son, the television station reported.
Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar of The Shul in Surfside confirmed that the Kleimans, Naiybryf and Berezdivin were members of his congregation and were missing.
“There are very few words that could give anybody consolation because you are dealing with an unimaginable, horrific tragedy that struck in the middle of the night,” Lipskar told WPLG.
According to her daughter, Magally Delgado, 80, lives on the ninth floor of the condo, WPLG reported. Magally Ramsey described her mother as a “strong 80-year-old,” the television station reported. Ramsey drove from her home in Orlando, Florida, when she realized the condo that had collapsed was where her mother lived, WPLG reported.
“Our family has not heard or been able to contact them at all,” Marrelli wrote. “We are praying for a miracle and for all the people that have yet to be found. Please also keep their daughters in prayer as well.”:
The sister of Paraguay’s first lady, Silvana Abdo, is among the people missing, The Associated Press reported. Paraguayan Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo told reporters that six people from the South American country remain missing: Sophia López Moreira, who is Abdo’s sister; her husband, Luis Pettengill; her three children; and the family’s assistant.
“You feel like you are nothing. You want to do so much but you can’t do it, you have no strength,” Yuby Cartes, an aunt of Pettengill’s, told the Miami Herald. “I’m staying here until I learn something.”
Of the 99 missing people, 22 are from South America, according to the AP. Nine are from Argentina, six from Paraguay, four from Venezuela and three from Uruguay, according to officials in those countries.
Arnie Notkin, 87, a legendary physical education teacher, coach at Miami Beach schools and a peewee football coach for several decades, is missing, along with his wife, Myriam Caspi Notkin, 81, according to WTVJ and The Washington Post.
Julio Cesar Velasquez, 67, and Angela Maria Velasquez, 60, lived in Unit 304 for nearly a decade, their son, David Velasquez, told the Post. Julio Cesar Velasquez is retired and his wife owns a small men’s clothing shop called Fiorelli in nearby Weston, the newspaper reported. Their daughter Theresa Velasquez, an executive at Live Nation, an entertainment company, arrived from Los Angeles on Wednesday night to visit her parents, the Post reported.
Andres Galfrasconi, 45, a plastic surgeon from Argentina, borrowed a friend’s apartment in the tower and made the trip from South America with his husband, theater director Fabián Núñez, 55, to receive COVID-19 shots, the newspaper reported. They were accompanied by their recently adopted daughter, Sofia, 6.
According to WTVJ, Claudio Bonnefoy, 85, the uncle of former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet, is missing, along with his wife, Maria Bonnefoy.
Cassandra Stratton, the wife of a Denver attorney, is among the people missing, her husband’s law firm confirmed to The Denver Post.
Cassandra Stratton is the wife of Michael Stratton, a Durango, Colorado, native and senior policy director with the law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, the newspaper reported.
Doral resident Sergio Barth said his brother, sister-in-law and 14-year-old niece are among the unaccounted people, the Herald reported.
Barth said his brother, Luis Fernando Barth, was visiting South Florida from Colombia with his family, the newspaper reported. They had been staying at the Champlain Towers South for about a month in a condo belonging to a friend, Sergio Barth told the Herald.
“Early this morning I heard on Colombian radio that a building had collapsed in Surfside, and I knew the area,” Sergio Barth told the newspaper. “And I started putting the dots together.”
Sergio Barth said the family had all received their two-vaccine doses and had planned to leave the Surfside condo on Thursday afternoon, the Herald reported.
“There’s a lot of uncertainty, no useful information right now,” Sergio Barth told the newspaper.
Adriana Chi was trying to coordinate information with friends as she attempted to find out the status of her brother, Edgar Gonzalez, a 45-year-old attorney in Miami, the Post reported. Gonzalez was in his apartment with his wife and daughter, who were both rescued and hospitalized, the newspaper reported. Both females were in stable condition.
“Nobody’s heard from him,” Chi told the Post about her brother. “I’m just trying to find somebody who can tell me if they saw him or where he is.”
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