It’s been heart breaking to follow the story of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, the unimaginable condo collapse. The numbers of those lost vary from site to site, but what CNN reports today is that 55 of the building’s 136 units fell at around 1:30 a.m. on June 24. The death toll stood at 86 as of this morning. The victims range in age from 4 to 92. Sixty-two victims have been identified. The number of people who are unaccounted for is 43. Authorities made the decision to shift the search effort from rescue to recovery on Wednesday.
Just mere miles down the road from where I live, the emotions are strong about such a horrific incident. With Elsa approaching, the decision was made to raze the remaining part of the building. Was it because they thought it would help clear more land for the search or remove worries about the remaining part of the building collapsing, there are mixed reasons why, but it appears that both reasons are true.
One of the couples lost was gay couple Fabián Núñez, 55, Andrés Galfrascoli, 45. They, along with their 6-year-old adopted daughter Sofía, are among the missing in the condominium collapse.
Galfrascoli, a plastic surgeon from Argentina, had borrowed a friend’s apartment in the tower. He traveled to Surfside with his husband, a theater director, Núñez and their just-adopted daughter, Sofía, to get vaccinated against COVID. The condo was the property of Nicolas Patoka, a friend of the couple, who loaned the apartment to them for just one night. They had been staying with Patoka in his Hollywood, Florida home for three months, but this night, for one night, they decided to spend it closer to the beach in Surfside.
“I wish we had told them no,” Zyri.net reported Patoka saying. “They weren’t just friends, they were family.” The couple had been staying with Patoka in Hollywood but decided to break up their routine and so he offered the couple his place at Champlain Towers.
[They] had carried their suitcases into Unit 803 mere hours before the building collapsed. They had been visiting from Buenos Aires, and were eager to be closer to the ocean before returning home. The couple was so excited that they called their families to show them the view of the beach from their balcony, Paola Florio, Mr. Nuñez’s cousin, said. – NYTimes.com
“They live in Argentina and they came here for about three months to get vaccinated and escape the pandemic and spend more time with us,” Patoka said. “It is impossible to describe how they fought to have their little angel and now she too is missing. This has no name.”