Thursday, July 7

Families Mourn Loss of Family Members in Miami Tower Collapse as Death Toll Rises to 86 | Miami condo collapse

The number of people confirmed to have died in the collapse of a condo tower in the Miami area last month reached 86, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Saturday.

No survivors have emerged from the ruins alive since the first hours after the tower partially collapsed in on itself in early June 24.

Investigators have yet to determine what caused the 40-year-old complex to collapse, while authorities are launching a grand jury investigation amid reports of warnings and disputes over repairs. The families have filed at least six lawsuits.

Not far from crews painstakingly searching the remains of the Champlain Towers South residential building in Surfside, near Miami, grieving families gather daily at the Seaview Hotel during the agonizing wait for news of family members buried in the rubble.

In the last two weeks, the hotel has become a shared space of hope and pain, as a rescue mission has been transformed into a task of recovery and identification of corpses, a task that takes place twenty-four hours a day.

Twice a day, every day, for more than two weeks, the relatives of the deceased and the several dozen people still missing have crowded into a space that is normally a dance hall, a new daily routine imposed on them by an unfathomable disaster. .

Many members of this small community wrought in tragedy have begun arriving early for meetings and staying late. They stay in small groups, talking. They hug, bring water and handkerchiefs. On days when information is scarce, rescue and recovery teams, including those who came from other countries to help, circulate around the room, offering more detailed information.

Authorities announced Wednesday that they would change their mission from rescue to recovery, prompting tears among many exhausted and tense relatives of the victims.

But there was no plan to stop private briefings for families, said Maggie Castro, a Miami-Dade firefighter and paramedic who keeps families updated and has forged her own connections with them.

“Obviously this is a great tragedy, but if I can find any kind of bright spot in all of this, it is being with these families, seeing their emotions come and go … watching them evolve through their stages and then watching them come together.” Castro said.

Soriya Cohen’s husband, Brad Cohen, is still missing. Her brother-in-law Gary Cohen was found dead Thursday, and their two sons are asking rescuers to search a similar grid line to find their father.

“The community pours out so much love,” she said, recalling how the volunteers wrapped her in a blanket, brought her food and coffee in the first days after the collapse, and “surrounded me with so much emotional support.”

He still has the blanket, he said Friday.

Meanwhile, a mother and daughter who were told by paramedics “should not be alive” after the collapse are on the long road to recovery, a relative told NBC.

But the husband and father who lived with them is among the missing.

Angela and Edgar González were on the ninth floor with their 16-year-old daughter Deven when the disaster struck. Another daughter was not at home at the time.

“In the middle of the night, my daughter woke up because she heard a strange noise… the building was shaking,” said Kathleen González, Angela’s mother.

“She started yelling at them to get up and get out, and she just ran with her daughter, pulled her daughter by her arm, when they came out the front door, they didn’t even go five feet, and fell to the ground. one floor lower, ”he said.

Angela and Deven parted ways, and as Deven screamed for her mother, Angela Gonzalez “crawled and put her body on top of my granddaughter and they fell back to the third floor,” said Kathleen Gonzalez.

Angela and Deven are in the hospital with multiple crush injuries and face a long struggle to recover, even as the excruciating wait continues for them to find Edgar Gonzalez. NBC reported.

On Saturday, authorities said the Miami-Dade County court will begin repairs immediately due to safety concerns found during a review triggered by the Surfside tragedy.

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