Miami-Dade County police have so far released the names of eight of the nine people killed in a partial collapse of a building in the coastal town of Surfside, in whose wreckage rescue workers are still searching for more than 150 missing people.
Most of the names of the fatal victims of the tragedy that took place in the early hours of June 24 are Latin. People from various countries, including Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, Chile, Colombia and Venezuela, lived or were temporarily housed in the Champlain Towers South building.
The first to be identified was Stacie Dawn Fang, a 54-year-old executive who, according to NBC 6, was buried in New Jersey this weekend. Dawn Fang’s son, 15-year-old Jonah Handler, was rescued from the building’s wreckage on the same day of the collapse and is recovering from his injuries in a hospital.
Later, Antonio and Gladys Lozano were identified, a couple of Cuban origin, aged 83 and 79, who, according to their relatives, feared being separated by death. In July, they would celebrate 59 years of marriage, according to their son, Sergio Lozano, who lives near the collapsed building and had dinner with his parents just hours before the collapse.
Another identified victim is Manuel LaFont, a 54-year-old man from Houston (Texas) who enjoyed playing basketball with his son in a nearby park and had traveled for many years in Latin America as a representative of an American company.
On Sunday, Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, Luis Bermúdez, 26, Ana Ortiz, 46, and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74, were also identified. Ana Ortiz and Luis Bermudez were mother and son from Puerto Rico and Leon Oliwkowicz and Christina Beatriz Elvira were a Venezuelan couple, according to journalist Shirley Varnagy, a friend of the family.
The Mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, recommended that all those who are missing a relative resident or temporarily housed in the Champlain Towers building on the day of the collapse to go to the police station to report the disappearance and take DNA samples to facilitate identification.
Until this Sunday, nine people had died as a result of the landslide and there were 152 missing, in addition to 134 people already located.
Search for survivors
For reasons not yet determined, the northeast wing of the Champlain Towers building, opened in 1981 and with a total of 136 apartments, collapsed in seconds in the early hours of last Thursday, when its residents were sleeping.
The search for survivors for a hundred rescuers in the rubble mountain that the 55 collapsed apartments have become will continue, said Levine Cava, who added that the numbers will continue to change in a “fluid” way.
In addition to bodies, rescue workers also found remains that forensics are trying to identify.
This Sunday, the families of the confirmed and missing victims had the opportunity to visit the place where the rescue teams work and pray for them and their loved ones.
The building and its surroundings are isolated by the police and only rescue workers and other people with assigned tasks in the area can pass.