Relatives of missing in Fla. condo building collapse wait in worry

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Anxious relatives of the nearly 100 people unaccounted for in the deadly partial collapse of a 12-story condo building near Miami waited in worry Thursday for word from their loved ones.

“I ‘can’t believe that this is actually happening,” Jenny Urgelles told South Florida’s NBC affiliate.

Urgelles told the outlet that she’d been searching for her parents, Ray and Mercy Urgelles, since 5:30 a.m, contacting multiple area hospitals in vain.

“I just feel like it’s like waves of emotion that I’m going through right now,” she said. “You see the photos [of the collapse] and they’re so awful.”

At least one person was killed and at least 10 more injured when the oceanfront building in Surfside, Fla., just north of Miami Beach, gave way around 1:30 a.m., authorities said.

Another 102 residents have been accounted for, but by Thursday afternoon, 99 had not. Many relatives of the missing gathered at a family reunification center a short distance from the building.

The wife and 16-year-old daughter of ninth-floor resident Eduardo Garcia were hospitalized with serious leg and internal injuries — but Garcia himself remains missing, family members told the outlet.

Rabbi Sholom D. Lipskar of The Shul in Surfside told South Florida outlet Local 10 that at least six members of the synagogue’s congregation are among the missing: Nancy Kress Levin, Jay Kleinman, Frankie Kleinman, Arie Leib, Yisroel Tzvi Yosef and Tzvi Doniel.

“There are very few words that could give anybody consolation because you are dealing with an unimaginable, horrific tragedy that struck in the middle of the night,” the rabbi told the outlet.

Also missing are Deborah Berezdivin and her boyfriend, Ilan Naibryf, members of the Shul of Bal Harbour.

Luis Andres Bermudez’s cousin told Local 10 that Bermudez, who has muscular dystrophy, is unaccounted for, as is relative Ana Ortiz.

An entire family of four — Marcus and Ana Guara and their two children, Lucia and Emma — are also missing, relatives told the outlet.

The missing also include six Paraguayan nationals — among them Sophia López Moreira, the sister-in-law of Paraguay’s president, her husband and three children — and visiting Argentinian couple Andres Galfrasco and Fabian Núñez, as well as their recently-adopted 6-year-daughter, Sofia.

Soriya Cohen told NBC 6 that her husband, local orthopedic surgeon Dr. Brad Cohen, is missing, as is her brother.

Relatives also told the outlet that three members of one family — Julio Cesar Velasquez, 67, Angela Maria Velasquez, 60, and Theresa Velasquez, 36 — are missing.

Also unaccounted for are Arnie and Maria Notkin, with Arnie Notkin described as a beloved peewee football coach in the community.

According to the outlets, the missing also include: Cassandra Stratton, Ricky and Maituca Rovirosa, Maria and Claudio Bonnefoy, Juan and Ana Mora, Leon Oliwkowicz and Christina Elvira Oliwkowicz, Linda March and Michael Altman.

Authorities have cautioned that at least some of the 99 missing may not have been in the building at the time of its collapse.

Emergency responders continue to labor at the site, digging through the rubble in a race against time to reach possible survivors.

It remains unclear what caused the building, which dates to 1981, to collapse.

Anyone who has unaccounted for relatives is asked by Florida officials to call 305-614-1819.

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