A rescuer working to save survivors of the Miami condo collapse disaster said on Friday that tapping sounds heard on Thursday have ‘dissipated’ – sapping hope for finding the 159 people who are still missing nearly 48 hours after building’s collapse.
Dr. Howard Lieberman, a trauma surgeon with a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue task force, told CNN that rescue crews heard ‘some tapping’ yesterday – or noise indicating that some of the victims may still be alive.
However, he told CNN that the tapping had ‘dissipated’ by Friday night but that crews have not given up hope.
‘I think these guys, you know, that’s their mindset also, they’re just going to keep going, keep going, keep going until, like I said, every stone is turned over and all the rubble is removed,’ Lieberman said.
He added: ‘We’re seeing stuffed animals, teddy bears, boxed of diapers, a child’s bunk bed, and we’re finding a lot of pictures, family pictures.’
‘It’s a little bit more emotional than going somewhere, where you know there’s no one, let’s say for a hurricane where they had enough warning and they had evacuation time and they got out.’
Dr. Howard Lieberman, a trauma surgeon with a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue task force, told CNN that rescue crews heard ‘some tapping’ yesterday that has since dissipated
The tapping sounds, which indicate signs of life in the rubble, had slowed since the collapse on Thursday
Zulema Perez prays in front of the memorial for victims of a partially collapsed residential building as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors
A man hangs a photo on a fence of someone missing near the site of an oceanfront condo building that partially collapsed in Surfside
People hang up more signs of missing residents and light candles from the partial collapse in Surfside where the rescue personnel continue their search for victims nearly 48 hours after the collapse
Isabella Cisternino, Camila Giron-Otano and Isabela Giron-Otano, from left to right, light candles in the sand near where search and rescue operations continue at the site of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building
Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said: ‘Any time that we hear a sound, we concentrate in that area,’
‘It could be just steel twisting, it could be debris raining down, but not specifically sounds of tapping or sounds of a human voice,’ Jadallah said.
Buffeted by gusty winds and pelted by intermittent rain, two heavy cranes removed debris from the pile using large claws Friday, creating a din of crashing glass and metal as they picked up material and dumped it to the side.
Crews have started to use heavy equipment including cranes to look for survivors
Once the machines paused, firefighters wearing protective masks and carrying red buckets climbed atop the pile to remove smaller pieces by hand in hope of finding spots where people might be trapped. In a parking garage, rescuers in knee-deep water used power tools to cut into the building from below.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said crews were doing everything possible to save as many people as they could.
‘We do not have a resource problem, we have a luck problem,’ he said.
The search has not yet transitioned to recovery though some family members waiting at a reunification center have given DNA samples in case they are needed to help identify victims, CNN reported.
Miami Dade Mayor Danielle Levine Cava told The New York Times that rescuers were using cameras, dogs and sonar equipment to look for survivors.
‘They are in the tunnels, they’re in the water, they’re on top of the rubble pile,’ she said. The pile’s instability made the work that much more delicate and dangerous.
She noted that the instability of the rubble pile made rescue efforts dangerous as crews ‘can’t dislodge pieces of debris that could injure them in the process.
‘They can’t dislodge debris that could possibly make it more difficult to continue the search,’ she had said earlier on Friday.
Experts have said that rescue efforts remain hopeful because people have been known to survive for weeks underneath rubble piles.
Police officers stand guard surrounded by smoke from a partially collapsed building in Surfside, north of Miami Beach
A man rides a bicycle surrounded by smoke from a partially collapsed building in Surfside, north of Miami Beach
A woman stands near a barricade tape near a partially collapsed residential building as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors
Dr. Mike Cirigliano, a doctor of internal medicine in Philadelphia, told WTXF-TV that people can survive in so-called ‘lean-tos’ where a pocket of space within the rubble allows them an oxygen supply.
He said that in some cases survivors can even last on a supply of water as rainwater can seep into lean-tos, according to the outlet.
A Haitian man survived two weeks underneath a crumbled building after the devastating 2010 earthquake, according to CNN.
At a news conference on Friday night, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said there are currently four task force teams working on search and rescue as teams from Mexico and Israel arrived on Friday morning to help with the efforts.
A rescue worker leads a rescue dog after looking for possible survivors among the debris of a partially collapsed building in Surfside
A dog of the search and rescue personnel search for survivors through the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside
Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building
Rescue crew respond at the site after a partial building collapse in Surfside near Miami Beach, Florida
Rescue workers look for possible survivors among the debris of a partially collapsed building in Surfside
He did not give an exact number for how many personnel from Mexico and Israel had been sent.
Cominsky said crews will be using heavy equipment such as cranes to help move debris on top of the sonar equipment, dogs and video cameras that they have already been using.
He said at the news conference that the main focus has been on sifting through debris underneath the parking garage.
‘Any glimpse of hopes that we have, any signals that we see that’s where want our primary focus. This is where we’ve been focused with the operation and looking for those voids,’ he said.
Rescue crews have also formed ‘bucket brigades’ to clear debris while using sonar devices to identify any signs of life, CBS News reported.
Miami Dade Fire Rescue posted a warning to residents on Friday night about ‘smoky conditions’ after the building collapse
Miami Dade Fire Rescue warned residents to stay indoors with windows closed as Miami Beach experiences ‘smoky conditions’ after the collapse
Each rescue team has a doctor like Lieberman to accompany them to aid any potential survivors and rescuers if they happen to be injured during their rescue efforts.
‘They remove a layer at a time. So basically, they are sort of delayering the pile. So they take off one layer at a time. We go in, we search, see if we can find anything. If not, they take off another layer,’ Lieberman told the outlet.
Hero mom saves daughter, 16, in condo collapse despite suffering a broken pelvis when they plunged four floors – but husband remains among the missing
A hero mom saved her 16-year-old daughter’s life by dragging them both from the rubble to safety, despite having suffered a broken pelvis in the Miami condo collapse.
Angela Gonzalez and daughter Devon plunged four stories from the ninth floor to the fifth floor when the 12-story Champlain Towers South Condo collapsed in the early hours of Thursday morning.
Angelo broke her pelvis in the fall but managed to pull herself and Devon from the rubble, reported CBS Local.
The mother and daughter are now recovering in Jackson Memorial Hospital.
However, Angela’s husband and Devon’s dad Edgar Gonzalez remains among the 159 people still missing, around 36 hours on from the disaster.
A family friend told CBS Local said they were hoping for the best that he would be found alive.
‘Hope for the best. Everybody just give prayers. Everybody else’s families or any colleagues or friends that were in the incidents, I wish you prayers, thoughts… And I hope everybody gets well,’ Lisa Melencial said from the hospital.
She added: ‘Pick up the pieces, trying to figure out how to make this work, how to make this better than what it is… Even though it’s a tragic scenario. I just want prayers and just the best for her and her family.’
Devon Gonzalez, 16, was pulled from the rubble by her mom
However, Dave Downey – a retired Miami-Dade fire chief – told CBS News that rescuers are ‘essentially looking for needles in a haystack.’
‘While this building came down relatively straight, they’re not — victims and survivors are not going to be located in the exact area where the building used to stand,’ he said.
Mayor Cava said at a news conference on Friday night that rescue efforts will continue through the night as 159 people still remain unaccounted for after the collapse.
‘We’re going to have more resources to pay for this expensive search and rescue and to give us access to more teams for the rescue later, for the clearance of the rubble and for the assistance for the families, as they put their lives back together,’ Cava said.
She added: ‘We’re here, we’ll continue, and please stand by us. Stand by us, as we stand by the families.’
Cava told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that she continues to have hope survivors will be rescued ‘because our first responders tell me they have hope.’
‘They are the ones on the ground. They are in the tunnels, they’re in the water, they’re on top of the rubble pile. They’re helping to sift through using the cameras, the dogs the sonar and they say they have hope,’ she said.
Rescuers hit a complication in efforts on Friday as they worked to extinguish a ‘deeply rooted fire’ under the structure, fire officials said.
Miami Dade Fire Rescue posted a warning to residents on Friday night about ‘smoky conditions’ after the building collapse.
‘If you live near the area of the #SurfsideBuildingCollapse, you may be experiencing smoky conditions, which can affect those with respiratory conditions. Please stay indoors, keep your windows and doors closed, and run your a/c by recirculating the air inside your home,’ the agency tweeted.
Patricia Mazzei, a reporter for The New York Times, tweeted that ‘the smoke tonight was rough’ while Fox News reporter Lauren Blanchard described the air quality as ‘thick’ and said that it ‘burns.’
‘The wind continues to blow it in waves – sometimes it thins out where we are … but then it kicks back up,’ Blanchard tweeted.
According to research from USA Today, the most common and successful methods used to try to locate survivors include acoustic detection and dogs that can sniff out living survivors.
The outlet noted that aerial drones utilizing cameras and other sensors help rescue teams monitor the collapse to find pockets where it’s safe to enter the debris.
Rescuers will often also use data from smartphones and phone service providers which can show if a missing person was in the area at the time of the disaster.
Even more usefully, search teams can use radar and microwave technology to more accurately pinpoint where survivors may be, according to University of Buffalo professor Joana Gaia.
She described the technology to USA Today as being similar to ‘the technology in cars that beeps when you’re close to hitting something.’
‘Responders are operating on a speed rather than accuracy standpoint,’ Gaia said.
‘They think: ‘If I think a body is there, I don’t care how accurate the signal is. I’m just going to try to go save the person.”
David Proulx, a vice president at defense contractor Teledyne FLIR which specializes in thermal sensing, told USA Today that robotics can be ‘incredibly useful’ in detecting survivors underneath the ground.
‘Once you get into that subterranean realm, ground robotics become incredibly useful. It can safely go where humans can’t,’ Proulx told USA Today.
A crane removes wreckage of a partially collapsed building in Surfside north of Miami Beach, Florida on Friday
Crews have started to use heavy equipment such as cranes to ‘strategically’ lift debris in the search for survivors of the collapse
The outlet reported that at least one company is shipping a ground robot from California to help with the search.
In a press release on Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Florida to supplement state and local recovery efforts.
The action from President Joe Biden authorized FEMA ‘to coordinate all disaster relief efforts, which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population.’
‘Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency,’ the news release reads.
The agency said that it would provide assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures under the Individuals and Households Program under the Stafford Act/
Thomas J. McCool has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal response operations for the affected area.
Experts are sent to the scene to examine the collapse after 2020 report warned the 12-story building was sinking one year ago
While the focus now is on the hunt for survivors, questions are being asked about what caused the 1980s building to suddenly collapse.
A team of scientists and engineers from the federal government agency responsible for leading investigations into building failures is now being sent to the collapse site to gather information on what went wrong.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) told The Hill the experts will ‘work with federal, state and local authorities to identify and preserve materials that might be helpful in understanding why the collapse occurred.’
The assistance from the group, set up after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, comes as speculation continues to build over whether this week’s tragedy could have been avoided.
It emerged Thursday that scientists had warned that the condo building was sinking and in a potentially dangerous condition one year before it collapsed, while it was due a safety certification review for the first time in 40 years. It had also just undergone improvements to its roof.
Authorities have not yet determined what caused the collapse and Miami-Dade police have opened an investigation – though Mayor Cava said ‘there has been no evidence found of foul play.’
Surfside Town Manager Andy Hyatt told CNN Friday morning there had been no concerns about the building’s safety prior to the disaster but said the town would carry out ‘due diligence’ to determine both what caused it and to ensure other buildings in the area are safe.
However, it has emerged that a 2020 study from Florida International University found the Champlain Towers South sea-view condo development was sinking at a rate of about 2 millimeters a year in the 1990s because it sits on reclaimed wetlands.
The oceanfront building was also due to have its safety recertified for the first time in 40 years this year which included the need for ‘extensive repairs for rusted steel and damaged concrete’ on parts of the structure.
It has also been revealed that the tower had recently undergone construction work on its roof, sparking fears this may have piled on additional weight to the sinking structure.
Search and rescue personnel have the grim task of pulling a covered body out of the rubble after the partial collapse on Thursday
The tragic scene was likely to be repeated as rescuers pulled a covered body out of the wreckage with 99 people missing on Thursday
A lightning strikes above the Champlain Towers South as Search and Rescue personnel work after the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, north of Miami Beach on Thursday
A shot from a video posted by the Miami Dade fire department shows firefighters in the rubble trying to find people on Thursday
A Google Street View image shows the tower before its horrific collapse on Thursday
An advertisement for the Champlain Towers is seen in the 1980s. The Champlain Towers South sea-view condo development was built in 1981 by the late developer Nathan Reiber’s company Nattel Construction at 8777 Collins Avenue in the southeast corner of Surfside but hasn’t been updated significantly since then
Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University, told USA Today he knew instantly which building had collapsed when he heard news reports because he had studied the building for the report published last year.
‘I looked at it this morning and said ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,’ he said.
Wdowinski said he found that Champlain Towers South was sinking at a rate of around 2 millimeters a year in the 1990s due to its position on wetlands but that rate could have slowed down or sped up since then.
Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University, told USA Today that he knew instantly which building had collapsed when he heard news reports because he had studied the building for the report published last year
However, the land’s slow sinking alone would not have caused the building to collapse, he said.
‘It was a byproduct of analyzing the data. We saw this building had some kind of unusual movement,’ Wdowinski told USA Today.
The paper was published in April 2020 in the academic journal Ocean and Coastal Management and was part of a wider look at how buildings in Miami were sinking generally with rising sea levels caused by climate change.
‘In some locations, as in the eastern part of the city, the detected subsidence [sinking] is of a 12-story high condominium building,’ the paper ominously warns.
It’s not immediately clear if the 12-story building referenced in the paper is the condo that collapsed. It’s also not clear if any officials took note of the paper when it comes to shoring up any dangerous conditions in the area.
In a video posted by FIU, Wdowinski said hundreds of buildings can be sinking bit-by-bit – and hundreds of buildings can have cracks, not just in Miami.
What would cause one to collapse would be an engineering problem, he said.
Wdowinski, who has previously conducted a number of land subsidence studies including one in Mexico City, noted in the video on Thursday that the tragic Mexico City Metro overpass collapse on May 3 that killed 26 people and injured 79 others had happened in an area where he had previously detected land subsidence.
The Champlain Towers South development was built in 1981 by the late developer Nathan Reiber’s company Nattel Construction at 8777 Collins Avenue in the southeast corner of Surfside, but the structure hasn’t been updated significantly since then.
It had a few two-bedroom units currently on the market at the time of the collapse with asking prices of $600,000 to $700,000. Some have sold for more than $2 million.
The area is a mix of new and old apartments, houses, condominiums and hotels, with restaurants and stores serving an international combination of residents and tourists.
Hundreds of firefighters were seen walking through the wreckage Thursday, picking up other survivors and carrying them away. Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped under the rubble
Local officials have said the condo block was right in the middle of going through a recertification process required by Miami Dade building code – which dictates that buildings have to be re-certified every 40 years. The building was due to be recertified for the first time since its construction this year.
Kenneth Direktor, a lawyer for the Champlain Towers South Association, told The Miami Herald on Thursday that to prepare for the recertification process an engineer had been hired to plan ‘structural and electrical’ updates but that work hadn’t started yet.
He told The New York Times that the building had been about to undergo ‘extensive repairs for rusted steel and damaged concrete’ but that he had seen nothing to suggest the collapse was related to issues identified in the engineering review.
Direktor told The Washington Post on Thursday that the building was ‘thoroughly inspected’ recently as part of the recertification process and that a report on the inspection was sent to town authorities.
He described the report’s findings as ‘fairly typical’ for a building of its age and ‘did not cast doubt on its structural integrity,’ according to the outlet.
Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett said roof renovations were being done on the property but that they should not have contributed to the collapse.
‘The building has literally pancaked. That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean to me that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive,’ he said.
He instead described the collapse as a ‘catastrophic failure’ of the building.
‘It’s hard to imagine how this could have happened,’ Burkett said.
Rescue teams rescued 35 people from the damaged building and two people in the hours after it collapsed, including the young boy, were pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the search operation
The surveillance video, obtained by WSVN, shows portions of the 12-story Miami Beach apartment building crumbling and sending a huge cloud of debris into the air when it collapsed in the middle of the night
‘Buildings just don’t fall down… There’s no reason for this building to go down like that unless someone literally pulls the supports out from underneath.’
He suggested that potential causes could be the result of the foundations being washed out or a sinkhole.
Bruce Masia of KW Property Management & Consulting told Florida’s Biz Journal that the ongoing roof renovation on the property could have added extra weight that the building couldn’t withstand.
However, Surfside Vice Mayor Tina Paul told The Washington Post on Thursday that Champlain Towers South passed a roof inspection on Wednesday – the day before the collapse.
Jeff Rose, a contractor whose parents live in the building, told the Miami Herald that he had done renovations for some of the condos and that work on the roof had started about six weeks ago.
He added that some concrete restoration work was also being done to fix old or damaged concrete but that the concrete work was not out of the ordinary.
Some people in Surfside had previously raised concerns about the integrity of the aging building.
Barry Cohen, 63, the former vice mayor of Surfside, said he raised concerns years ago about whether nearby construction might be causing damage to the building after seeing cracked pavers on the pool deck.
In 2015, a resident also sued in 2015 claiming building management did nothing to repair cracks from water damage.
Rescuers pull a body out of the rubble of the collapsed condo in a harrowing sight as they work through the night on Thursday
A front end loader shifts rubble mixed with furniture and household items, as rescue efforts continue where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed, late on Thursday, June 24, 2021, in the Surfside area of Miami
‘Praying for a miracle’: Pregnant mother of a one-year-old daughter and married father-of-three who had been celebrating his birthday are among missing after Miami condo collapse
Distraught friends and family are ‘praying for a miracle’ as at least 159 people are still missing after a 12-story apartment block collapsed in Miami in a disaster feared to have killed scores of sleeping residents.
Among the missing is the first cousin of the former president of Chile and current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet.
Pascale Bonnefoy told CNN she had not heard from her father Claudio Bonnefoy since the Champlain Towers South collapsed without warning in the early hours of Thursday morning.
He lived with his wife Maria Bonnefoy in the part of the condo building that has been reduced to rubble, she said.
The couple are among at least 31 Latin American citizens known to be missing including nine Argentinians, six people each from Paraguay, Columbia and Venezuela and three from Uruguay – a number that could climb as the search continues.
Sources close to the investigation told DailyMail.com most people in the building were tourists from Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia and had traveled to the US to get COVID-19 vaccines because they are difficult to get in their respective countries.
Many are thought to have been renting the condos as Airbnbs, making it difficult for officials to identify who could be trapped beneath the rubble of the oceanfront complex.
Paraguay’s First Lady Silvana López Moreira arrived into Florida Thursday as her sister and sister’s family remained missing more than 24 hours on from the disaster.
Sophia López Moreira, her husband Luis Pettengill, and their three young children were reported to be among the missing Thursday.
Moreira is the sister-in-law of Paraguay President Mario Abdo Benítez. The family were said to have been celebrating Luis’s birthday just hours before the tragedy after they had traveled to the US to get their COVID-19 vaccinations.
Sophia López Moreira, her husband Luis Pettengill and their three young children are among those unaccounted for in Miami after the 12-story apartment building collapsed overnight. Moreira is the sister of President Mario Abdo Benítez’s wife Silvana
Cassandra Stratton (left). Her husband said she was staying in the building and he was speaking on the phone to her at the time it collapsed. She told him the ‘building was shaking’ and, moments later, the line went dead he said. Cassandra had posted a photo of herself on Instagram just hours before (right)
Meanwhile, one concerned husband told Fox21 he was speaking on the phone to his wife who was staying in the building at the time it collapsed.
Michael Stratton, from Denver, said his wife Cassandra Stratton told him the ‘building was shaking’ and, moments later, the line went dead. He has not heard from her since.
‘She described that the building was shaking and then… the phone went dead,’ he said.
Stratton said flew out to Miami as he awaited news about his wife who had been staying in a condo in the building during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cassandra had posted a photo of herself on Instagram just hours before the disaster, posing on a chair in a building in Miami Beach.
Bhavna Patel, a 38-year-old British and US citizen, her husband Vishal Patel, 42, and their one-year-old daughter Aishani, have also not been seen since the building’s collapse, a relative told Sky News. Bhavna had been expecting another baby.
Their devastated friend Vishal Abash described Bhavna ‘as an angel, a sweet kind loving woman … very loving, very unconditional love, I never heard her say a bad word about anyone since the day I met her.’
He described the couple, who were best man and maid of honor at his wedding, as heaven-sent, adding that ‘now maybe God has come to reclaim his angels.’
A woman who said creaking noises woke her up the night before the building collapsed, is also unaccounted for, according to her son Pablo Rodriguez.
Both his mother and grandmother were in the section of 55 condos that collapsed at Champlain Towers at 1.30am on Thursday.
He told CNN: ‘We are praying for a miracle, but at the same time trying to be as realistic about it as possible.’
The president of Paraguay’s sister-in-law Sophia López Moreira, her husband Luis Pettengill, and their three young children are also still missing, Paraguay’s foreign ministry confirmed.
Moreira is the sister of President Mario Abdo Benítez’s wife Silvana. The family are said to have been celebrating Luis’s birthday just hours before the tragedy.
Also unaccounted for are orthopedic surgeon Brad Cohen and his brother Gary. Brad’s wife Soriya Cohen spoke to reporters and showed pictures of her loved ones on her phone while waiting at the Family Assistance Center set up for relatives.
Bonnie and David Epstein were on the ninth floor when the building gave way. Their son, Jonathan, who lives in New York City said he hasn’t been able to contact them.
‘I’m trying to be a little optimistic, but I just don’t see it,’ he told WJXT. ‘It just doesn’t seem real, you know? Why this building? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t know. I’m struggling to make sense of it.’
Bhavna Patel, a 38-year-old British and US citizen, her husband Vishal Patel, 42, and their one-year-old daughter Aishani remain unaccounted for. Her devastated family said that Ms Patel is ‘an angel.’ The mother is also expecting another child.
Bonnie and David Epstein were on the ninth floor when the building gave way at 1.30am on Thursday. Their son, Jonathan, who lives in New York City said he hasn’t been able to contact them. ‘I’m trying to be a little optimistic, but I just don’t see it,’ he told WJXT . ‘It just doesn’t seem real, you know? Why this building? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t know. I’m struggling to make sense of it’
The University of Chicago chapter of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish movement said one of its members Ilan Naibryf and his girlfriend Deborah Berezdivin (pictured) were still missing. Writing on Instagram, the group said: ‘Please pray for Ilan Ben Ronit and Deborah Bat Talia Chaya. They are dear friends, gems whom we love dearly. Ilan is a student at UChicago and the President of our Chabad Student Board. They are both family.’
Frankie Kleiman and his wife Annie Ortiz (left), along with Annie’s son Luis, are believed to have been inside the building when it collapsed. Frankie’s brother Jay (right) was visiting for a funeral. Frankie lives on the same floor as their mother Nancy
Luis Andres Bermudez, 26, who has muscular dystrophy, is missing along with his mother Annie Ortiz, wife of Frankie Kleiman who was also inside the building
Jay and Frankie Kleiman were believed to have been inside the building with their mother Nancy Kress Levin (pictured) when it collapsed
Edgar Gonzalez (left), who lived on the ninth floor with his family, is still unaccounted, his relatives told NBC. Dr Brad Cohen (right), who is an orthopedic surgeon at a local hospital, hadn’t been heard from since 3am. His wife, Soriya Cohen, said he lived on the 10th floor
Among the missing are orthopedic surgeon Brad Cohen and his brother Gary (Gary is pictured). Brad’s wife Soriya Cohen spoke to reporters and showed pictures of her loved ones on her phone while waiting at the Family Assistance Center set up for relatives.
Soriya Cohen holds up a picture of her husband, Brad
The synagogue at Bal Harbour, about eight blocks from Champlain Towers, has opened it doors to help those affected with food supplies and other donations. Around a dozen members of the synagogue are unaccounted for.
Chani Lipskar, the wife of the rabbi, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that thousands around the world were praying for not just the missing Jews, but everyone else impacted by the tragedy.
Families have started sharing images of their missing relatives online as firefighters continue trawling through the wreckage. Many of their photos have been compiled by CBS4 reporter Frances Wang.
Carlos Pou, who lives in Baco Raton, told The Miami Herald he knew at least six people who were living at or visiting the building at the time of the collapse.
He identified brothers Jay and Frankie Kleiman, their mother Nancy Kress Levin, and Frankie’s wife Annie Ortiz and her son Luis Bermúdez.
Frankie lived on the same floor as his mother Nancy and his brother Jay had been visiting for a funeral, Pou said. He said he’d left several voicemails but had not been able to get hold of the Kleimans.
A friend of the family told the Herald: ‘They are young people with kids. Frankie’s daughter is pregnant.’
The University of Chicago chapter of the Chabad-Lubavitch Jewish movement said one of its members Ilan Naibryf and his girlfriend Deborah Berezdivin had also been inside the building.
Writing on Instagram, the group said: ‘Please pray for Ilan Ben Ronit and Deborah Bat Talia Chaya. They are dear friends, gems whom we love dearly. Ilan is a student at UChicago and the President of our Chabad Student Board. They are both family.’
Andres Galfrascoli (left) his partner Fabian Nunez, right, and their newly adopted daughter Sofia, who was six, died while visiting their apartment in Florida to get vaccinated
The family of Luis Barth say the 51-year-old was visiting from Colombia and was staying in a friend’s condo with his wife and daughter. The condo was on the collapsed side and no one has heard from any of them
Ilan Naibryf and his girlfriend Deborah Berezdivin have not been heard from and were staying in the apartment building
Ricky and Maituca Rovirosa are also missing, family members told Local 10
Also missing is a famed Argentinian plastic surgeon, his partner, and their newly-adopted six year-old daughter.
That surgeon – Andres Galfrasconi, 45 – was visiting Miami with his partner Fabian Nunez, 55, and their daughter Sofia, six, to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
Argentinian singer Julia Zenko was one of Galfrasconi’s clients, with Zyri.net reporting she was ‘very distressed’ by his disappearance following the collapse.
The couple and their daughter were staying at an apartment owned by an unidentified friend, who says she has not been able to contact them.
Judy Spiegel, 66, the wife of former Erlanger Health System Chief Executive Officer Kevin Spiegel is also missing.
He confirmed in a text message to WRCBTV that she was still unaccounted for Thursday afternoon.
The two lived together.
‘I’m flying to Miami now,’ he wrote. Please pray for her.’
His wife Angela and daughter Devon, 16, survived the disaster and were being treated in Jackson Memorial Hospital.
A family friend told CBS Local Angela saved her daughter’s life by dragging them both from the rubble to safety, despite having suffered a broken pelvis when they both plunged four stories in the collapse.
Graciella Catarossi (left) and her daughter Estella (right) are also missing. They were staying with Graciella’s elderly parents, who have not been identified, but are also unaccounted for
The family of Luis Barth say the 51-year-old was visiting from Colombia and was staying in a friend’s condo with his wife and daughter.
Barth’s brother Sergio, who lives in Miami, told the New York Times the condo they were staying in was on the collapsed side and that he has been unable to reach him.
Theresa Valasquez, 36, was visiting her parents Julio, 67, and Angela, 60, when the towers collapsed.
Her brother David Velasquez wrote on Facebook that his sister had arrived at their parents’ condo on Wednesday, and have not been found.
Alfredo and his son Lorenzo Leone are also missing. A friend told CBS4 that their mother was out of town and is flying back
Judy Spiegel, 66, (left) the wife of former Erlanger Health System Chief Executive Officer Kevin Spiegel, and Estelle Hedaya (right) are also missing. A friend told CBS 4 that she was on the phone with Hedaya for an hour and a half last night, but is currently unable to get hold of her
Elaine Sabino (left) lived on the 12 floor and Linda March (right) lived in penthouse 4 of the condo. March is an attorney who had recently moved back from Miami from New York, a friend told Local 10. Both are still missing
A friend said they recognized bunk beds and a desk chair exposed in the side of the partially collapsed building as belonging to the apartment March was staying in
Also missing is Estelle Hedaya.
A friend of Hedaya told CBS4 that the two had spoken on the phone for an hour and a half last night, but is currently unable to get hold of her.
Graciella Catarossi, and her daughter Estella are also missing.
A friend told Local 10 that the two were staying with Graciella’s elderly parents, who are also unaccounted for.
Luis Andres Bermudez, 26, is missing along with his mother Ana Ortiz.
Bermudez reportedly has muscular dystrophy and cannot walk or call for help, a cousin told CBS4.
Alfredo Leone and his young son Lorenzo are also unaccounted for.
A friend told CBS4 that their mother was out of town and is flying back.
Elaine Sabino was on the 12th floor and is also still missing.
Linda March was renting a penthouse in the condo. March is an attorney who had recently moved back from Miami from New York after recovering from COVID-19, a friend told Local 10.
March had been complaining recently about the noise caused by the repairs being made to the tower’s roof, the friend said.
Messages sent to March’s phone were unanswered and the friend said they recognized bunk beds and a desk chair exposed in the side of the partially collapsed building as belonging to the apartment she was staying in.
Brothers Frankie and Jay Kleinman as well as their mother Nancy Kress Levin are also missing.
They were with Annie Ortiz, her son Luis Bermudez as well as Deborah Berezdivin.
A friend told the Miami Herald that all six are Puerto Rican.
At least 27 people from Latin American nations are among the missing, the Herald also reported.
Myriam and Arnie Notkin are among the missing. Arnie is a longtime peewee football coach in Flamingo Park, NBC reported
Raymond and Mercedes Urgelles. Their daughter Jenny has been trying to reach them since 5.30am, according to NBC
Theresa Velasquez (left) was missing along with her parents Julio and Angela Velasquez (right). Theresa was visiting them during the collapse and the three have not been heard from, her brother posted on Facebook
Nicky Langesfeld and Luis Sadovnic were living on the eighth floor, CBS4 Miami reported
Moises Rodan, 28, lived in unit 308, according to CBS4 Miami
More than 100 people gathered at a family reunification center by mid-morning on Thursday as they awaited news on their family and friends.
Authorities said 53 people had been accounted for by Thursday afternoon but 159 who are believed to have lived in the building were still missing as of Friday morning. It was unclear whether any, or all of them, were inside at the time of the collapse.
The tower has a mix of seasonal and year-round residents.
Officials say the building keeps a log of guests staying but does not keep track of when owners are in residence.
Luz Marina holds a picture of her aunt, Marina Azen
Marina Azen and Michael Altman are also missing. Azen has been living in the condo for about 20 years, family told CBS4 Miami
Crowds of people were gathering at a family reunification center set up nearby as they awaited news on their family and friends
Thirty-five people were rescued from the damaged building and 14 people, including a young boy, were pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the search operation. Two of those people, including the woman who has since died, were taken to hospital. Three more fatalities were confirmed Friday morning.
Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped under the rubble and have already warned the recovery efforts could last an entire week.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said rescue teams had made contact with some survivors by mid-morning but did not elaborate on where they were located or if they had been rescued. ‘Right now, we have the fire rescue. They are in search and rescue mode. They are trying to identify survivors, I know they have made contact with some, and I know they are doing everything they can to save lives,’ he said.
The other areas in Miami where buildings are at risk of collapse: Map from report that predicted 12-story condo collapse reveals water-logged spots
The research identified four sites along Miami Beach where the ground is sinking. Champlain Towers South, top right, was sinking at the slowest rate
The report that detailed that the Champlain Towers South building was sinking before its horrific collapse on Thursday described other areas in Miami Beach where buildings could be at risk of collapse because of land sinking and coastal flooding.
The study revealed that in southwest South Beach, there is significant coastal flooding. It also identified other parts of northeast Miami Beach where the ground has sunk.
The report was done by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University. He studied Miami Beach last year and a coastal town in Virginia to see where coastal flooding might have impacted the ground and caused it to sink.
When Champlain Towers collapsed on Thursday, Wdowinski said it came as no surprise given his research last year.
It’s unclear if he gave any kind of warning to the building operators last year after he carried out his research.
It found that the ground beneath the building has been sinking at a rate of 1.9mm every year since the 1990s.
Another site where the same thing was happening is in the area surrounding Park View Island, near where there is an elementary school.
That patch of land has been sinking faster than the land beneath Champlain Towers South – at 2.3mm a year.
Further south, there are two sites in the Flamingo/Lummus area of South Beach that Wdowinski’s team identified as also sinking at rates of 2.2mm a year and 2mm a year. They are in a residential and commercial district, just to the east of Star Island, the celebrity enclave.
He also found that North Bay Village, an island in between Miami Beach and Miami, was sinking.
In an interview with USA Today on Thursday, Wdowinski said: ‘I looked at it this morning and said ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that.’
He maintains that land subsidence would not cause a building to collapse and that something else must have contributed to it.
The study analyzed data from satellites using the technology Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar, known as InSAR, to compile datasets spanning from 1992–1999.
The map shows Miami Beach, left, with locations were there high amounts of land subsidence (in red) and coastal flooding (in blue). It reveals that there are other areas where the ground has subsided at a faster rate than where the Champlain Tower South collapsed
The team analyzed four sites where the ground has been sinking. The top one shows the Champlain Towers site and the others are all parts of land where there are apartment buildings, stores and even one near an elementary school. They were all sinking at a faster rate than the Champlain Towers site. The researchers say this alone shouldn’t cause buildings to collapse so there’s no need for alarm
The center portion of the tower was the first to fall with the east section of the building collapsing moments later
The study found that land sank in locations around Miami Beach at rates between 1 and 3 millimeters per year- mainly in parts of the city built on reclaimed wetlands.
In Norfolk, land subsidence was seen in areas along the shore and inland at similar rates – with some areas showing land sinking at rates up to 8 millimeters per year.
According to the United States Geological Survey, more than 80% of known land subsidence in the U.S. ‘is a consequence of groundwater use and is an often-overlooked environmental consequence’ of land and water-use practices.
‘Land subsidence is a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface due to removal or displacement of subsurface earth materials,’ according to the agency.
It can occur at different rates and has even been recorded at rates more than 200 millimeters per year in some places around the globe like Jakarta, Indonesia.
Norfolk and Miami Beach were chosen as the locations for the study because both communities have been subjected to repeated coastal flooding over the past decade, the researchers said in the study.
In Norfolk, flooding has occurred in multiple locations throughout the city characterized by low elevation.
A huge emergency search and rescue operation is underway after the beachfront condo tower, Champlain Towers South, collapsed at about 1.30am this morning in the Miami neighborhood of Surfside. One woman has been confirmed dead and at least eight people were injured
Rescue teams rescued 35 people from the damaged building and two people, including the young boy, were pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the search operation
The results indicate that about 97% of Miami Beach was stable during the observation period but several localized subsiding areas were detected mostly in the western part of the city.
The study noted that most of the subsidence happened at single-family houses that were built on reclaimed wetlands. However, the study also specifically called out the Champlain Towers South condominium.
‘In some locations, as in the eastern part of the city, the detected subsidence is of a 12-story high condominium building,’ the report reads.
However, the study determined that higher subsidence rates up to 3.8 millimeters per year were registered in the artificial islands located west of the city like the Venetian Islands as well as North Bay Village.
Portions of Miami Beach like Mid-Beach and Bayshore as well as La Gorce appeared to show lower levels of subsidence.
‘The rest of the city remained stable,’ the report reads.
Luckily, some of Miami Beach’s tallest buildings, including the 44-floor Green Diamond and Blue Diamond towers, appear to sit in areas with low levels of land subsidence.
The report appears to conclude that the geology of the area, which is made up of a plateau of karst limestone, may contribute to localized subsidence even though no regional subsidence has been recorded in south Florida.
Wdowinski uploaded a video to the Vimeo platform on Thursday explaining the findings of his study and why it had been conducted.
‘For this area of the Atlantic Coast, at the time, there weren’t at the time many observations,’ he said.
He said that the 1 to 3 millimeters per year subsidence is ‘pretty small’ but added ‘when you think about the accumulation over time then it can be a few inches over decades and that was our concern.’
Wdowinski said that InSar has been used to monitor buildings and in many cases where buildings crack and move, they also show subsidence.
‘We’ve seen that in another study that we studied detections of sinkholes in central western Florida, we saw that there were some buildings that moved and when we went to check we saw there were some cracks,’ Wdowinski said.
The researcher said that the InSar technology is commonly used around the world to detect movement of buildings.
‘In most cases, these buildings move and there’s no catastrophic collapse like in the case here in Surfside – which was very unfortunate,’ he said.
Wdowinski said that the western parts of the city where the researchers detected subsidence were in places where the researchers had expected to see the subsidence.
‘There was unusual pocket we saw in surfside which was in the eastern side, known to be a stable part of the city,’ he said.
‘Over there, we didn’t expect to see subsidence, so we didn’t pay too much attention to that. We just recorded it because that’s what the data shows.’
He added: ‘We just reported that because the focus of the study was about land subsidence and not about trying to analyze building damage or anything like that. So it’s a byproduct of our analysis that we saw movement and we didn’t pay that much attention and just recorded it in the paper.’
A Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team sprays water onto the rubble as rescue efforts continue where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed late on Thursday
Wdowinski, who has previously conducted a number of land subsidence studies including one in Mexico City, noted in the video on Thursday that the tragic Mexico City Metro overpass collapse on May 3 that killed 26 people and injured 79 others had happened in an area where he had previously detected land subsidence.
He said that the land subsidence seen in Miami Beach occurs in ‘smaller pockets’ about the size of a house than like that he had detected in Mexico City.
‘In some cases, it can be just that the building is not built properly and it can have cracks because of the problem of the building itself and it still moves – and we can detect it with this technology.’
In Miami Beach, the city is built on a barrier island that has a rockier foundation on the eastern side. The western side was made of wetlands that were reclaimed before houses were built on the reclaimed wetlands – which tends to subside in a process called soil consolidation.
‘In the eastern side of the city where the buildings are built on bedrock, it’s less likely to have movement of the building and the ground beneath the building – which is why we didn’t expect to see any movement,’ he said.
‘The building can move due to the land or can be due to cracks within the buildings and hundreds of buildings have cracks and they move … and it doesn’t mean it will collapse.’
He said there was ‘something from an engineering point of view that caused it to collapse’ and that it could have been from the ground moving or cracks that had formed in the building in the 1990s.