80-year-old missing in ruins: “I thought I would call you back tomorrow”


Miami – After the high-rise disaster, the desperate search for survivors continues. 150 people are still missing. They are lost in the huge rubble heap of the 12-story house.

Hundreds of rescuers comb through the rubble mountain. But the desperate relatives of the missing have waited in vain for a miracle: since a 12-year-old was rescued in the hours after the collapse, only more dead have been rescued. It was not until Monday (local time) that the death toll rose to eleven.

All around the ruins are scenes that recall the days after the September 11th terrorist attack in New York. Photos of the victims were attached to a fence: You can see siblings, entire families, young people from South America, children. The notes are marked with the inscription: “Missing”. The phone numbers of the relatives are added – in case they are alive and someone sees them.



The fire brigade and relatives hang flowers and photos of the victims and missing people on a fencePhoto: Chris Gordon

BILD spoke to some relatives who do not want to give up hope of a miracle:

The 80-year-old Magaly Delgado had never bothered that she lived in Apartment 911, America’s emergency number and the date of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Her daughter Ramsey stands in front of the hastily set up family information center and shows the woman’s photo.


Daughter Ramsey missed the last call from her mother Magaly Delgado and is now hoping to be saved

Daughter Ramsey missed the last call from her mother Magaly Delgado and is now hoping to be savedPhoto: Chris Gordon

She is still hoping for a miracle, but at the same time she seems to have made peace. “She is in God’s arms and she certainly didn’t feel anything,” says the daughter.

Tragic: She would have received a call from her mother on Wednesday evening – less than four hours before the collapse: “I was in a conference and couldn’t answer”, she says: “I thought I would just call you back tomorrow …”


Abigail Pereira shows a photo of her missing friends at the camera

Abigail Pereira shows a photo of her missing friends at the cameraPhoto: Chris Gordon

Sofia is six years old, a sweet blonde girl, very intelligent and musical. She slept in the apartment with her two fathers, Andres Galfrascoli, a surgeon, and Fabian Nuñez. When they were all suddenly torn down when the building collapsed! The family came to Miami from Argentina to escape the Covid epidemic.

Abigail Pereira is the family’s best friend, tearfully shows a photo on her smartphone: Sofia is beaming into the camera with a small pout in the back seat of a convertible, she is wearing a hairband with cat ears on her head.

“I don’t want to give up hope, maybe there will still be a miracle,” says Pereira. But at the same time she organizes the sending of DNA samples from relatives in Argentina – for later identification of the corpses.


Viviana Pena shows photos of her still missing aunt Marina Azen

Viviana Pena shows photos of her still missing aunt Marina AzenPhoto: Chris Gordon

“I just spoke to her on the phone,” says Viviana Pena, who is looking for her aunt Marina Azen, just a few hours after the tragedy. She lived in apartment number 404, “with a view of the sea,” says the woman. She wipes away tears and gives herself a jerk: “I’m going to search all the hospitals now,” she says: “You should never give up hope!”

The resident of the unfortunate building suffers from asthma, she worries: “I hope that she is not lying in the dust under the rubble!” She holds up two printed photos of her aunt. On previous visits she had noticed that the building was in poor condition: “There was constant repair work, and it seemed like there was really a lot to do here!” Again, her eyes moistened: “My aunt was a wonderful one Person! ”And she had only lost her husband the previous year.


Rachel Spiegel hugs Charles Burkett, Surfside Mayor

Rachel Spiegel hugs Charles Burkett, Surfside MayorPhoto: Lynne Sladky / AP

Judy Spiegel was alone in the apartment when the house collapsed. Her daughter Rachel tearfully says: “I want to hug my mum again, my child wants to hug her!” She was the greatest mother and grandmother you could imagine. A woman with a big heart who was so devoted to helping others through her philanthropic work.

But Rachel does not give up the hope of a miracle either: “She is a fighter, she will hold out!” It comforts her a little to receive the many compassionate messages from the people.


Excavators are supposed to clear heavy debris out of the way

Excavators are supposed to clear heavy debris out of the wayPhoto: Chris Gordon

Meanwhile, operations manager Obed Frometa explains to BILD how the search for the missing persons in the smoking rubble pile is going: “We are working on numerous fronts, sniffer dogs are on duty in the search for possible survivors. Heavy concrete parts are lifted from the dump with excavators and cranes. Teams penetrate through the garage from below into the rubble, ”says the lieutenant of the Miami fire department.


Sniffer dogs are also used

Sniffer dogs are also usedPhoto: Chris Gordon

The conditions? “It’s like being in a crypt down there!” But it has been seen in the past that people can survive for several days, says Obed Frometa.

The helpers work in small teams and risk their lives: “There are unstable structures, razor-sharp building parts, rubble that is still falling from the building, there are sources of fire, smoke development – and there are also frequent downpours and lightning!”

Dead are discovered again and again. The helpers receive pastoral care on site from priests and psychologists.

After the disaster in Miami, the helpers also need help …

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