SURFSIDE, Florida – The official toll of the Surfside building collapse came close to 80 dead on Saturday morning. Families were grieving children, young couples with dreams, and beloved parents and grandparents.
Miami-Dade detectives revealed the identities of four other victims on Friday evening. Search teams recovered two bodies on Thursday: Benny Weisz, 31, and Angela Velasquez, 60.
Ilan Naibryf, 21, and Leidy Luna Villalba, 23, were among 12 dead crews found on Wednesday.
Naibryf, who was born in Argentina and lived in Hawaii, was in love with Deborah Berezdivin, a graduate student at George Washington University, friends said. He followed her to Surfside to support her at the funeral of a COVID-19 victim. Crews also found her dead on Wednesday.
Berezdivin, who was born in Puerto Rico, was an aspiring architect. She had already graduated from Tulane University. Naibryf, a student at the University of Chicago, had a degree in physics. He was working on a minor in molecular engineering and planned to graduate in 2022.
“He was also co-founder and CEO of STIX Financial, a finalist in the College New Venture Challenge 2021, was chairman of the Chabad House student council, was a former member of the men’s track team and was active in the recreational football. We will miss him very much, ”wrote a spokesperson for the university. “We recognize the grief that Ilan’s passing brings to our community. Ilan was a student and a precious friend.
Families mourned two other couples.
Weisz, who was born in Austria, and his wife, Malki Weisz, 27, were visiting his father, Harold Rosenberg, 52. The couple lived in Lakewood, New Jersey. Crews also found Rosenberg dead on Wednesday. The family was waiting for updates on Malki Weisz.
Velasquez, who was born in Colombia, owned a store in downtown Weston. She lived with her husband, Julio Velasquez, 67, and their 36-year-old daughter, Theresa Velasquez, a Live Nation executive. who was visiting them from Los Angeles.
Malki Weisz, Julio Velasquez and Theresa Velasquez are among 62 people missing since June 24.
Before sunrise, determined teams continued to search for bodies or human remains trapped in the ruins of the ancient 12-story South Champlain Towers at 8777 Collins Ave.
The early morning collapse of the northeast sections of the L-shaped condominium left a mountain of compacted concrete slab. Firefighters evacuated survivors who were in the southern part of the oceanfront building.
Terror, anguish and grief surrounded the region. Hope fed the Miami-Dade Fire Department to convene the eight Florida task forces. Crews from as far away as Virginia and New Jersey have arrived to help. There were teams from Israel and Mexico.
There were intermittent storms and spontaneous fires as teams of 10 to 12 people tunneled through the destruction day and night. There were long, heart-wrenching days filled with sweat and tears during which the crews could only find one or two bodies.
The work did not stop. Using heavy equipment, the teams were able to remove around 14,000 tonnes of concrete and metal. Workers delivered him to a field of Golden Glades. But with the threat of debris falling from above, the engineers decided to stop the mission. Everything stopped around 2:11 am and resumed at 4:45 pm
President Joe Biden met with relatives, officials and rescuers in Surfside. And when the mission resumed, Tropical Storm Elsa threatened the area. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava ordered the demolition of what was left standing and everything imploded on the evening of July 4.
The search and rescue mission ended on Wednesday. The crews stood around the rubble in a solemn moment of silence and prayer. They had found entire families dead. They had seen a Miami firefighter carrying his dead daughter after Florida Task Force 2 Miami recovered her body.
Their commitment has not wavered.
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