At least 159 missing after partial building collapse near Miami

By Aditi Sangal, Meg Wagner and Melissa Macaya, CNN

Updated 6:57 a.m. ET, June 26, 2021
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9:49 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

Paraguay's first lady is in Florida as search continues for her sister and family

From CNN's Karol Suarez and Florencia Trucco 

In this August 1, 2019 file photo, Paraguay's First Lady Silvana López Moreira stands next to her husband President Mario Abdo Benitez as he speaks to the nation from the Palacio de Lopez in Asuncion, Paraguay.
In this August 1, 2019 file photo, Paraguay's First Lady Silvana López Moreira stands next to her husband President Mario Abdo Benitez as he speaks to the nation from the Palacio de Lopez in Asuncion, Paraguay. Jorge Saenz/AP

Paraguay's First Lady Silvana López Moreira is in Florida as the search goes on for her sister and the family of her sister in the Surfside, Florida, building collapse.

The office of communication of the presidency of Paraguay confirmed to CNN en Español that the first lady, her parents and her brother in law’s parents arrived in Florida Thursday.

The sister of the first lady, Sophia López Moreira, her husband Luis Pettengill and three children were in the United States to receive Covid-19 vaccinations at the time of the Miami building collapse, according to Paraguay's Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo.

They are among six Paraguayans who are unaccounted for following the building collapse. 

Acevedo told CNN en Español on Thursday that members of the first lady's family "went there to get vaccinated, they left with the whole family and what happened was unpleasantly inevitable, and at this moment we want to check if they are indeed among the traceable. Our consulate team is visiting all the hospitals in Miami in case they have been hospitalized, so far our report is negative; we are in uncertainty, it discourages to be in the category of missing because there are six Paraguayans despite belonging to the presidential family; obviously, the President is shocked like his wife by this event."

"The Foreign Ministry is in permanent communication with the Presidency and everything we know about the Miami consulate and everything that concerns this tragic situation; we are sharing with them," he added.

 

10:12 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

Two patients of building collapse being treated at Jackson Health Systems, injuries unknown

From CNN's Rosa Flores

Two patients are still being treated at Jackson Health System medical facilities in Miami, hospital spokesperson Danilo Santos tells CNN's Rosa Flores. The type of injuries were not disclosed.

11:37 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

Former Chilean president's relative is missing after the building collapse, daughter says

From CNNE's Abel Alvarado

The daughter of a Chilean citizen told CNN Chile that she has not been able to communicate with her father since the building collapse in Surfside, Florida.

Pascale Bonnefoy said her father is the first cousin of Michelle Bachelet's father. Bachelet is the former president of Chile, and current UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Her father and his wife lived in the section of the building that collapsed, and she has not heard from him since.

The Chilean consulate in Miami offered to support the family during the search. "I contacted the consul, and he offered his help, but since there is no information either, there is not much that can be done," Bonnefoy said.

At least 31 people from six Latin American countries are still unaccounted for since the building collapse.

Latin American citizens still unaccounted for:

  • Chile: 1
  • Argentina: 9
  • Paraguay: 6
  • Colombia: 6
  • Venezuela: 6
  • Uruguay: 3

9:38 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

Police and medical examiner working to identify those killed in Surfside collapse, official says 

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez.
Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez. Source: WSVN

Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez on Friday said "we have four victims that lost their lives, our homicide detectives are working with the medical examiner's office right now, to identify those victims."

Ramirez said MDPD has victim advocates to notify next of kin once victims are identified. 

According to Ramirez, MDPD is on scene "supporting fire rescue with their search and rescue." 

"Scene security is paramount because heavy equipment is arriving" Friday, said Ramirez. "We're gonna have a very restricted access to this area," he said. 

9:06 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

Biden received an update on the collapse this morning and could visit Florida next week 

From CNN's Jeff Zeleny

President Biden was updated this morning on the rising number of people who are unaccounted for in the Surfside, Florida, building collapse, a White House official said, and he will receive regular updates throughout the day.

The exact plans for remarks today are still not know, but he is expected to address the tragedy.

As for visiting Florida, this is something that could happen next week. But the White House official said: “We will stay in touch with the officials on the ground and determine if and when that would be appropriate — current focus is on and should be on rescue and recovery.”

Earlier this morning, Biden approved an emergency declaration for the state of Florida.

10:02 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

Son of missing woman: "I hope and pray she's found soon...but it's not a promising sight if you've been here"

From CNN's AnneClaire Stapleton

Kevin Spiegel and his two sons.
Kevin Spiegel and his two sons. Source: CNN

Kevin Spiegel and his two sons remain at the scene of the rubble praying their mother, Judy, will be found alive nearly 30 hours after the tragic collapse of the condo where Kevin and Judy lived.

Kevin was out of town when the collapse happened. "I woke up in the middle of the night...I looked at my phone. I had an email from Surfside about a traffic disturbance just to alert everybody — I noticed it was our building," Spiegel told CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta Sunday morning.

"I saw the building and the part of the building that was missing, that's where our apartment is... I knew exactly, I knew it has to be," he said.

Spiegel says his building is fairly modern. "It's only 40 years old. If you look at some of the buildings around us, the one next door is actually brand-new. But the one next to it is probably 50 or 60 years old. And it appears to be fine."

He says this past weekend, there was some water coming up in the complex's garage.

"Whether that was the real sign that there was something wrong, I don't know," he said.

The family just wants their mother back but know the likelihood of finding her alive dwindles with each passing hour.

"It's an evolving scene as you can see behind us. Today we were a little shocked of the amount of fires that are breaking out in the debris and the smoke and the water. That's not a good sign. So, but we're dealing day by day....But it's not a promising sight if you've been here," son Kevin Spiegel told CNN.

He wants the world to know his wife was the most amazing woman. "Judy was a philanthropist. She raised money for the children's hospital...She was a wife, she was a mother, and she was a grandmother. And she was unbelievable. She was full of life. She looked half her age. She was so fit, so thin, and she really kept — she was the glue that kept our family together," her husband said.

"We are hopeful that today will be the day that they find our mom, and that she's brought home to us safe," her son Josh said.

Watch Dr. Sanjay Gupta's interview with the Spiegel family:

9:02 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

The search efforts have all shifted to the rubble now, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue chief says

From CNN's Aditi Sangal and Melissa Alonso 

Fire rescue personnel conduct a search and rescue through the rubble of the Champlain Towers South Condo on Thursday.
Fire rescue personnel conduct a search and rescue through the rubble of the Champlain Towers South Condo on Thursday. David Santiago/Miami Herald/AP

The search and rescue efforts of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue workers are now all shifted to the rubble, Chief Ray Jadallah said.

"The entire building — the portion that's still standing — was cleared by rescue crews. So at this point now, all resources have been shifted to the rubble, including from above and from below," he said Friday.

There are currently a total of 130 firefighters working search and rescue on site, county officials said.  

Jadallah said rescue teams on Friday will "have heavy machinery on scene to start pulling some of the superficial metal from above" at the collapse site.  

The additional machinery will help crews "start looking for additional voids from above," he said.   

"We are listening for sounds, it's not specifically, you know human sounds, it could be...not necessarily tapping, it could be steel...it could be some of the debris kind of raining down," said Jadallah. 

Jadallah said crews continue to hear noises and heard different sounds coming from the rubble throughout the night.  

"We concentrated in those areas from below, we continue with using like machinery saws jackhammers as we continue to tunnel through underneath," said Jadallah. 

"We are going to work as hard as we can to continue our search and rescue effort that is our priority, that is where we're focused, and protecting our first responders who are on this," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

At least 159 people are still unaccounted for, the mayor earlier told reporters.

8:46 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

Rescuers heard sounds in the rubble throughout the night, fire chief says

Chief Ray Jadallah.
Chief Ray Jadallah. Source: WSVN

Rescue crews heard sounds from the rubble throughout the night, Chief Ray Jadallah with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said in a press conference.

"We have hope, and every time that we hear a sound, we concentrate on that area ... as we continue to hear those sounds, we concentrate on those areas," he said.

8:30 a.m. ET, June 25, 2021

"We still have hope we will find people alive," Miami-Dade mayor says

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. Source: WSVN

"We will continue search and rescue, because we still have hope we will find people alive," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a press conference.

Moments ago Levine Cava said 159 people remain unaccounted for. Search and rescue operations are continuing today.