Tuesday, August 16

Surfside families speak out

(CNN) — The beloved of those who died in the partial collapse of an apartment building in Surfside, Florida, called on authorities to turn the site into a memorial to the victims.

Ronit Felszer, who lost her 21-year-old son Ilan Naibryf in the June disaster, moved her family of five to the United States in 2002 “because she believed in what America stood for,” she told a news conference. this Thursday.

“The America I dreamed of doesn’t build on dead people or mass graves,” Felszer said.

The collapse of the Champlain South Towers on June 24, shortly before 1:30 a.m., killed 98 people.

Surfside, a town of about 6,000 people north of Miami Beach, is home to a large population of Orthodox Jews. After the collapse, when families reunited, it was common to hear Hebrew, Spanish, English and Portuguese.

The diverse community joined in, trying to gain strength in faith. Synagogues and churches were opened to hold emergency prayer services. Vigils were held for the missing, and many prayed, wept and embraced with the ruins of the tower visible in the background.

Miami building

“It is obvious that this has become more than just a collapsed building. It is a holy place,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett in the weeks after the collapse.

However, in a court hearing on Thursday, a court-appointed receiver, attorney Michael Goldberg, stated that the sale of the Champlain Towers South land for $ 120 million to an anonymous buyer will be entered into a contract next week, according to Governor Ron DeSantis’s office.

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DeSantis press secretary Christina Pushaw said the sale is not final yet, because it could take several months to complete due diligence on zoning and environmental issues. And until the sale is finalized, he said, other potential buyers can submit offers.

In addition, DeSantis’ office said Friday that “any decision on the land on which Champlain Towers South was located must be made by the owners.”

“This is understandably a sensitive issue, and the governor has not positioned himself on what should be done with the land. It is not public land, so the state cannot make the final decision,” Pushaw said.

Monica Iken, who lost her husband, Michael, when the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11, advocated for the site to be a memorial.

“Unfortunately, I am having a already seen. This has reminded me of all the nightmares of 9/11, when I lost my dear Michael Patrick Iken, “he said.

He added that he “worked hard to make sure we had the memorial and the museum [del 11S] world class we have today. “

Iken, who founded the nonprofit September’s Mission to advocate for those affected by natural and civil disasters, is committed to continuing to help victims’ friends and family in the process. He vowed to find out who the “stakeholders” are and to contact Governor DeSantis.

Iken stressed that it is important for people to understand that the victims of the Surfside landslide “suffered.”

“They were awake, some of them. We don’t have whole body remains. That people thought there were whole bodies there … there weren’t. Some people just have fragments of their loved ones,” he said. “This is a sacred space, just like the monument [del 11S]”.

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Martin Langesfeld lost his sister, Nicole Langesfeld, 26, and his brother-in-law, Luis Sadovnic, 28.

“We ask people in positions of power to please collaborate with us to do the right thing. Treat this catastrophe as if it were your family, as if it were your city, your state or your country,” Langesfeld said.

In this aerial view from July 31, 2021, the cleared land where the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building was located, which collapsed in Surfside, Florida.

Vicky Btesh, who lost her husband, Andrés Levine, and three cousins, said: “Nobody deserves to go to sleep and not wake up, crushed by their own home.”

“And no one deserves to have their last resting place disrespected. No one. It is not built on the dead, as you have heard over and over again,” he said. “This monument should be a permanent reminder of what happened here.”

– CNN’s Faith Karimi contributed to this report.


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