Cape Breton Post
Families pray for a miracle with 159 missing in Florida
SURFSIDE, Fla. — Rescue workers scouring the debris of a collapsed condo building in a Miami suburb said they heard sounds in the rubble overnight, as officials on Friday raised the number of people unaccounted for to 159 and the confirmed death toll to four.
Miami-dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters that three more bodies were pulled from the wreckage overnight. Another person was reported to have died on Thursday. The mayor also said the number of presumed missing had increased from the 99 reported missing on Thursday.
“I’m praying for a miracle,” Rachel Spiegel, whose mother Judy Spiegel is missing, told CNN on Friday.
The last time Spiegel communicated with her mom was Wednesday night, when her mother excitedly texted her that she had bought a dress online for Spiegel’s daughter, her granddaughter.
Hours later, early Thursday morning, a large section of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, a barrier island town across Biscayne Bay from the city of Miami, crumbled to the ground, authorities said.
“The dress is in the mail and I just want my mom to give it to her,” Rachel Spiegel told CNN, wiping away tears.
Miami-dade Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Ray Jadallah said on Friday that rescuers had heard sounds in the rubble overnight, but said it could be either falling debris or people tapping.
Video captured by a security camera nearby showed an entire side of the building suddenly folding in two sections, one after the other, at about 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, throwing up clouds of dust.
“We are listening for sounds, human sounds and tapping,” Jadallah said, as rescuers use shovels and jackhammers to tunnel under the debris to find pockets where survivors could be.
Mariela Porras, a friend of a woman who lived in the building with her young daughter and is now missing, said she has not abandoned hope that the two were still alive beneath the rubble.
“I vacillate between hope and I’m heartbroken,” Porras told CNN.