Surfside condo collapse: What we know about the victims and 150 missing people

Surfside condo collapse: What we know about the victims and 150 missing people
Friends and relatives of the missing await the worst, as tributes are paid to those who were killed on Friday

Officials have so far identified eight of the ten individuals confirmed to have died in the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida.

A further 151 remain unaccounted for amid the rubble of the 12-story beachfront condo, which collapsed in the middle of the night on Thursday without warning.

Among the missing are two children of elementary school age, Fox News reported, and a couple who went on missionary trips to build bridges and churches.

The eight people who are identified as having died in the collapse are Stacie Dawn Fang, Manuel LaFont, Antonio and Gladys Lozano, Christina Beatriz Elvira, Luis Bermudez, Leon Oliwkowicz, and Anna Ortiz, according to Miami-Dade officials.

Linda March

A 58-year-old attorney who relocated from New York to Florida following an infection from Covid last year, Linda March allegedly traded the city for views of the ocean before Friday’s incident.

Rochelle Laufer, her best friend, told the Associated Press that Linda had bought a bright pink bicycle to cruise around Miami on, when she was not working from her apartment.

Linda was looking for another apartment in Surfside, added Rochelle, amid complaints of noise from a construction site close to Champlain Towers South. She had broken her lease before the collapse. She remains missing.

Another friend, Dawn Falco, said she had been talking on the phone with Linda until just two hours before the building fell at about 1.30am on Thursday, and that her heart was “breaking” from images of Linda’s crumbled home, penthouse 4.

Linda, despite losing her father, sister and mother, was described as somebody who always smiled. She was also divorced, and without children.

“She would say to me, ‘I’m all alone. I don’t have family,’ said Rochelle, who would say to her best friend: ‘You’re my sister, you don’t have to be born sisters. And I said you always have me”.

The Patels

Bhavna Patel lived with her husband, Vishal Patel, and their one-year-old daughter at Champlain Towers South. She was also four months pregnant.

The 38-year-old is a citizen of both the UK and US, and had lived at the condo for about two years ago, according to her niece, Sarina Patel. The family are among the 151 missing.

Rescuers at the wreckage of Champlain Towers South

“We’re starting to prepare for the negative possibility, especially as the hours pass, but at the end of the day our family is very hopeful,” said Sarina to KABC TV. “I just keep praying they have found a pocket somewhere where they were able to seek shelter and just waiting to be found.”

Leon Oliwkowicz and Christina Beatriz Elvira

The couple lived in an apartment on the 7th floor of the tower when it collapsed, their daughter told WPLG.

On Saturday, rescuers located the body of 80-year-old Leon Oliwkowicz and identified him on Sunday, when the body of his wife, aged 74, was located and identified by officials.

Judy Spiegel

A doting grandmother who her daughter, Rachel Spiegel, said was incredibly thoughtful, a terrible cook and “the matriarch of our family”.

Judy Spiegel treasured hosting her friends and family at her home in Champlain Towers South, and recently had gone to great lengths to find a Disney princess dress for her granddaughter after it sold out in stores in Surfside, Florida.

“She’s very thoughtful, she cared about the details,” Rachel Spiegal, who was tearful, told the Associated Press. “She was certainly the matriarch of our family.”

“My mom is an incredible person. She has the best heart and we need to find her,” she said of her 66-year-old mother.

Her favourite treat was said to be chocolate Ben & Jerry’s ice cream, and she was also an advocate for Holocaust awareness.

Elaine Sabino

A baton twirler, jazz player and former flight attendant who was described as being incredibly kind and “the ultimate hostess, on the airplane, everywhere” by her friends.

The 70-year-old lived in a penthouse on the 12th floor of the building, and is among those missing.

A memorial wall for the missing, near Champlain Towers South

Her friend, Shelly Angle, told the Miami Herald: “The main thing people know about Elaine is, she’s always there to give you a hand in everything you’re doing”.

Douglas Berdeaux, her brother-in-law, told The Washington Post that she was worried that the ceiling was going to collapse on top of her bed,” because of construction work on the roof of Champlain Towers South.

Elaine was said to have excelled at belly dancing and playing jazz, after a career flying with US Airways and JetBlue.

Claudio and Maria Obias Bonnefoy

The couple lived on the 10th floor of Champlain Towers South and according to family, spent little time inside of the apartment before Covid. They are among the missing.

Bonnefoy, an 85-year-old lawyer, is the second cousin of former Chilean President and High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet.

Both Claudio and his Filipino-American wife, Maria Obias, worked for international organisations, said his daughters, Anne Marie and Pascale Bonnefoy.

Richard Augustine Crews work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South

The 77-year-old’s daughter, Deborah Hill, was due to collect her father from Chicago airport on Friday, when he was caught in the collapse of Champlain Towers South.

She told Chicago ABC7 that she watched video footage showing his upper-floor apartment falling and disappear into a cloud of dust.

“That was pretty scary to watch,” said Deborah. “Immediately I tried to call him and his phone went straight to voicemail.”

Richard, who wanted to retie from the freight industry in the autumn, had visited his son in California and was about to see Debbie, his daughter, for the weekend in Chicago.

He and a roommate are thought to be missing,

The Moras

Juan and Ana Mora were hosting their son, Juan Mora Jr, when Champlain Towers Collapsed on Friday.

A friend of Ana’s, Jeanne Ugarte, said the duo were immigrants from Cuba and devout Catholics, and took their son and family on missionary trips to build churches and bridges on Caribbean islands.

Crews work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South

Juan Mora Jr., who works for Morton Salt in Chicago, often hosted his parents at his home in Illinois, and would introduce friends and family to Cuban coffee and food.

“They were the kind of people that even if someone says ‘I’m not hungry,’ they would just continue to order food to make sure you had a full belly,” said a friend of Juan Jr, Matthew Kade.

Kaade, who graduated with Mora from Loyala University Chicago in 2011, said he texted this month saying he was planning to return to Chicago in early August.

“I was super excited to get him to come back,” said Kaade. He described Juan Jr., an avid Chicago Cubs fan, as genuine and someone his friends could always rely on “to be real and straight” with them.

His friends are travelling to Florida to await news.

Stacie Dawn Fang

The 54-year-old and her teenage son, Jonah Handler, were on the 10th floor of the building when it collapsed.

Rescuers pulled him out from a pile of cement, after a dog hurried to the site of Champlain Towers South, where Jonah’s hand was waving from below the wreckage. He is recovering in hospital.

Stacie Dawn Fang, 54, his mother, is among the eight confirmed to have died in the tragedy.

“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie,” members of her family said in a statement. “Many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much needed source of strength during this devastating time.”

Manuel Lafont

Manuel LaFont, 54, was a proud father, a baseball fan and a business consultant who lived on the building’s eighth floor. He had a 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter with his ex-wife Adriana LaFont, the Miami Herald reported.

His body was pulled from the wreckage on Friday, and was identified on Saturday.

Construction equipment is used to remove rubble

LaFont, a Houston native, coached his son’s baseball team, the Astros, at North Shore Park, just a mile away from the Champlain. He was also a parishioner at S. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach.

Antonio and Gladys Lozano

Antonio and Gladys Lozano lived on the ninth floor of Champlain Towers South, and on Saturday were confirmed among the vicitms.

The duo, aged 83 and 79, were due to celebrate the 59th wedding anniversary on 21 July and according their sons, were said to have jocked that neither wanted to die before the other, because neither wanted to live without the other.

Sergio Lozano, who lives in a tower across from his parents, said he had dinner with them hours before the collapse.

Anna Ortiz and Luis Bermudez

The bodies of Anna Ortiz, aged 46, and her 26-year-old son, Luis Bermudez, were recovered on Saturday from the wreckage of the collapsed tower.

Relatives told ABC News that their bodies were located together, and that it was agonising not knowing if the mother and suffered before they were pulled out. They identifies were confirmed by Miami-Dade officials on Sunday.

Additional reporting by Associated Press


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