SURFSIDE, Fla .– Relatives of the nearly 160 missing people continue to await news after a 12-story condominium collapsed on Thursday just north of Miami.
As of Friday, 159 people were still missing, authorities said. At least four people died.
News of the condominium collapse has reverberated around the world, with missing residents having roots all over the world. Among them are Orthodox Jews from Russia, Americans of Argentine origin and the sister of the First Lady of Paraguay.
As of Thursday evening, 20% of those missing from the building collapse were South Americans, and news of the collapse was making headlines on news agency websites across the hemisphere.
“We still have hope”:At least 4 dead, 159 missing in Florida building collapse
Look before and after: Champlain Towers South, the Florida building that partially collapsed
Crews wearing helmets and rescue dogs searched piles of concrete, maneuvering around personal belongings left among the wreckage, including televisions, computers and chairs. A children’s bunk bed perched precariously on the top floor. Two cranes removed debris as glass and metal crashed with their claws.
In a reunification center, families have arranged chairs in semi-circles to wait. The semicircles grew larger as new family members passed the yellow police tape in search of relatives.
Here’s what we know about the missing:
members of the Jewish community
Some 20 Jews are among the missing, some of them of Israeli nationality, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, Israel’s consul general in Miami, told USA TODAY.
A rescue team of Orthodox Jews, called Hatzalah, joined law enforcement at the scene of Surfside, which has a large Jewish and Israeli population.
The local Jewish community from a nearby synagogue brought lunch to the families of the missing and injured. Dozens and dozens of pizza boxes sat on tables beside large aluminum platters filled with falafel, cucumber and tomato salad, and red cabbage salad.
No family had filed a missing person report with the consulate on Thursday, but Israel offered rescue teams to help with recovery efforts, Elbaz-Starinsky said.
The University of Chicago has sent a message to students and faculty confirming that Ilan Naibryf, a fourth-year physics and molecular engineering student, is among those missing.
An Instagram post shared among the students asked people to pray for Naibryf and his girlfriend Deborah Berezdivin. “They are dear friends, gems that we love very much,” the post said.
The Shul Jewish Community Center displayed a sign offering meals, phone chargers, blankets and clothing. They asked people to contact if they needed a place for Shabbat dinner on Friday night.
Argentine American community
Surfside has also long been an enclave for the Argentine American community. As of Thursday afternoon, nine Argentines were missing, the country’s consulate in Miami said on Twitter.
Capital in Rosario, Argentina, reported that two Argentinian actors, Gimena Accardi and Nicolás Vázquez, were staying in the building but were able to escape to safety.
Silvana Juárez, 49, from Argentina, lives near the condominium and told USA TODAY that three of her good friends and a young child are missing.
Among the missing are also the married couple Andres Galfrascoli and Fabian Nuñez and their 6-year-old daughter, Sofia, who spent Wednesday evening in the apartment of a friend, Nicolas Fernandez. Galfrascoli is a plastic surgeon in Buenos Aires and Nuñez is a director and accountant.
“Everyday they chose the worst to stay there,” Fernandez said. “I hope they don’t, but if they die like this it would be so unfair.”
The researchers say:Miami’s collapsed condo was sinking into the earth as early as the 1990s
Relatives of the First Lady of Paraguay
Six Paraguayans are missing, according to the country’s foreign ministry. Among them are relatives of the first lady of Paraguay, Leticia Robertti, spokesperson for the Paraguayan consul general in Miami, told USA TODAY.
They included the first lady’s sister, Sofia Lopez Moreira Bó, her sister’s husband, Luis Pettengill, and their three children and nanny, Lady Luna Villalba.
President Mario Abdo announced that he had canceled Thursday and Friday activities to be with his wife. The first lady plans to visit Miami on Friday evening, said Gilmer Moreira, press director of the Presidential Palace of Paraguay.
“I have no hope”:Relatives await news, survivors flee after partial collapse of condominium near Miami
Among the missing: a doctor, a teacher, a yoga teacher
As of Friday morning, family, friends and colleagues had not heard from Dr Brad Cohen, a 51-year-old orthopedic surgeon. Colleagues at Cohen’s medical practice, Aventura Orthopedics and Sports Medicine, remained hopeful.
“We have people watching the hospitals and wherever it is,” said receptionist Joselyne Cheramy. “We have no idea. “
“Her phone is not answering,” Khafizov’s real estate agent Tatiana Asailov said tearfully, adding that Cohen had a “very attached” daughter of around 12 years old.
Asailov knows the condo like the back of his hand. “For me, his master bedroom where he would sleep is right at the end, and I still hope that room is still there,” Asailov said. “I look at the broken building and hope.”
Pablo Rodriguez, 40, from Miami, said his 64-year-old mother and 88-year-old grandmother lived in the wing that collapsed. He last spoke to his mother on Wednesday when they discussed plans for the weekend.
Her grandmother’s 89th birthday is next month. Rodriguez was planning to surprise her with brunch at a good restaurant.
“I came to the center, but I have no hope,” Rodriguez said in tears on Thursday.
Arnie Notkin, a retired Miami-area elementary school physical education teacher, and his wife, Myriam, are also among the missing. Fortuna Smukler, a friend, described them as happy people and said Notkin always had a story to tell.
“Originally there were rumors he had been found, but it was a case of a mistaken identity,” Notkin said. “It would be a miracle if they were found alive.”
Ashley Dean rushed to South Florida from New Orleans after receiving a frantic call from her sister’s husband. Dean’s sister, Cassandra Stratton, a yoga teacher, was missing.
“We’re just keeping our hopes up,” Dean said.
Contributors: Adam Regan, The News-Press / Naples Daily News; Nada Hassanein and Mary Claire Malloy, USA TODAY; Antonio Fins, Palm Beach Station; The Associated Press.