Families of those still missing after a condo building collapsed in Miami were taken to the site to see recovery work – with one set of relatives screaming their loved one’s name in the hope she’d hear them.
Relatives were bussed to the ruins of the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside, Florida, on Sunday morning. Once there, loved ones of missing student Nicole Langsfeld began screaming her name, apparently in the hopes that she might hear them and reply.
Langsfeld and her husband Luis Sadovnic are among 152 people still missing after the 12-story building collapsed early last Thursday morning. Nine people are so-far confirmed to have died, with eight of those victims identified by medical examiners.
CNN reporter Faith Karimi, who witnessed Sunday’s harrowing visit, tweeted: ‘Some relatives of those missing in Surfside were allowed to visit the collapse site this afternoon. (The area is cordoned off).
Relatives of Nicole Langsfeld – pictured with her husband Luis – called her name while visiting the Miami condo collapse site on Sunday, in the hopes their loved one might hear them
Nicole and Luis have not been seen since the 12-story apartment building which they lived in collapsed in the early hours of last Thursday
The couple are among 152 people still missing. Nine people have so-far been confirmed dead, amid fears the final death toll will rise much higher
‘Nicole Langsfeld’s uncle told me when they got there, they took turns screaming out her name, hoping she’d hear them beneath the rubble.’
Karimi later shared details on Nicole given to her by the missing woman’s uncle. She tweeted: ‘She was funny and smart and loved animals — all sorts of animals…She would have moved an elephant into that condo if she could.’
Hopes are beginning to fade that anyone will be rescued from the rubble alive. Families were bussed to the scene of the tragedy after one angry relative confronted Florida Governor Ron DeSantis about what she claimed were inadequate efforts to try and save their loved ones.
That confrontation, captured on Saturday, saw the woman said: ‘It’s not enough.
‘Imagine if your children were in there. You are going to leave here and you are going to take a nice picture. I know you are doing everything you can, but it’s not enough.’
Relatives are pictured being bussed to the recovery site on Sunday, after some complained they felt not enough was being done to try and save their missing loved ones
Explaining the purpose of Sunday’s visit, a spokesman for Miami-Dade Daniella Levine Cava said: ‘It is a private and deeply emotional moment for the families.’
DeSantis and other officials have stressed that crews have been working 24 hours a day since the tower collapsed, often in rainy conditions, and face the delicate task of trying to extract possible survivors from heaps of rubble without injuring them further.
Rescue teams from Israel and Mexico have joined Miami’s highly skilled search and rescue teams. Surfside’s Mayor Charles Burkett stressed he was still hoping for ‘miracle’ rescues from the rubble, saying: ‘I expect miracles. I’m expecting many miracles.
‘I think we all believe and expect miracles.’
Workers sift among the rubble of the site on Sunday, with workers trying to rescue any potential survivors without putting them at risk of further injury from rubble
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett says he expects ‘miracles’ in the coming days as people are rescued, although hopes are fading that anyone else will be pulled out alive
Teams from Israel and Mexico are set to join highly experienced local search and rescue squads in the hopes of finding survivors
Levine Cava also sounded a note of optimism while giving the latest updates on the search Monday evening.
She said crews now had much greater access to the rubble pile, with good weather helping speed their work.
Rescues have also been able to suppress fires currently smoldering in the rubble.
Levine Cava said: ‘It’s an inspiration to all of us, and to people all around the world. Their work, getting a fire and the smoke under control, was very pivotal, and the good weather today, were two very positive developments in the search, and they have allowed the search and rescue effort to move forward without some of the previous challenges that we have faced
They are actively working on the trench and it actually was extremely helpful for the location of bodies
The mayor also called on the families of the missing to file police reports about their loved ones, so investigators could collect DNA samples to help identify any remains they later fine.
Leo Soto, who lost a friend in the disaster, was among loved-ones paying tributes at a makeshift shrine on Friday. It has continued to grow over the weekend
An investigation into what caused the collapse is ongoing. The Champlain Towers was undergoing repairs as part of a mandatory 40 year recertification process for the building, which was constructed in 1981.
Suspicion is currently focused on the complex’s raised swimming pool, which was said to be leaking and eroding its concrete foundations, but investigators say it is too early to draw any firm conclusions.