The president of Paraguay’s sister-in-law and her family are among the 51 people currently unaccounted for in Miami after the 12-story apartment building collapsed overnight – as families desperately await news of their loved ones.
Sophia López Moreira, her husband Luis Pettengill and their three young children are still missing, Paraguay’s foreign ministry confirmed on Thursday.
The family own a condo inside the Champlain Towers South beachfront building that collapsed at about 1.30am this morning in Miami’s Surfside neighborhood.
Moreira is the sister of President Mario Abdo Benítez’s wife Silvana. The family are said to have received their COVID-19 vaccines hours before the collapse, which also happened on Luis’s birthday.
Another woman from Paraguay, Lady Luna Villalba, is also missing in the aftermath of the disaster.
Families have started sharing images of their missing relatives as authorities launched a huge search and rescue mission to trawl the rubble for any survivors.
Sophia López Moreira, her husband Luis Pettengill and their three young children are among those unaccounted for in Miami after the 12-story apartment building collapsed overnight. Moreira is the sister of President Mario Abdo Benítez’s wife Silvana
Andres Galfrascoli (left) his partner Fabian Nunez, right, and their newly adopted daughter Sofia, who was six, died while visiting their apartment in Florida to get vaccinated
Also missing is a famed Argentinian plastic surgeon, his partner, and their newly-adopted six year-old daughter.
That surgeon – Andres Galfrasconi, 45 – was visiting Miami with his partner Fabian Nunez, 55, and their daughter Sofia, six, to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
Argentinian singer Julia Zenko was one of Galfrasconi’s clients, with Zyri.net reporting she was ‘very distressed’ by his disappearance following the collapse.
The couple and their daughter were staying at an apartment owned by an unidentified friend, who says she has not been able to contact them.
Edgar Gonzalez, who lived on the ninth floor with his family, is still unaccounted, his relatives told NBC.
Gonzalez’s wife and daughter are currently being treated in hospital, according to the family.
The family of Luis Barth say the 51-year-old was visiting from Colombia and was staying in a friend’s condo with his wife and daughter.
Barth’s brother Sergio, who lives in Miami, told the New York Times the condo they were staying in was on the collapsed side and that he has been unable to reach him.
Dr Brad Cohen, who is an orthopedic surgeon at a local hospital, hadn’t been heard from since 3am. His wife, Soriya Cohen, said he lived on the 10th floor.
The family of Luis Barth say the 51-year-old was visiting from Colombia and was staying in a friend’s condo with his wife and daughter. The condo was on the collapsed side and no one has heard from any of them
Edgar Gonzalez (left), who lived on the ninth floor with his family, is still unaccounted, his relatives told NBC. Dr Brad Cohen (right), who is an orthopedic surgeon at a local hospital, hadn’t been heard from since 3am. His wife, Soriya Cohen, said he lived on the 10th floor
Ilan Naibryf and his girlfriend Deborah Berezdivin have not been heard from and were staying in the apartment building
Ricky and Maituca Rovirosa
Myriam and Arnie Notkin
More than 100 people gathered at a family reunification center by mid-morning on Thursday as they awaited news on their family and friends.
Authorities say 53 people had been accounted for by Thursday afternoon but 99 who are believed to have lived in the building were still missing. It was unclear whether any, or all of them, were inside at the time of the collapse.
The tower has a mix of seasonal and year-round residents.
Officials say the building keeps a log of guests staying but does not keep track of when owners are in residence.
Thirty-five people were rescued from the damaged building and 14 people, including a young boy, were pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the search operation. Two of those people, including the woman who has since died, were taken to hospital.
Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped under the rubble and have already warned the recovery efforts could last an entire week.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said rescue teams had made contact with some survivors by mid-morning but did not elaborate on where they were located or if they had been rescued.
‘Right now, we have the fire rescue. They are in search and rescue mode. They are trying to identify survivors, I know they have made contact with some, and I know they are doing everything they can to save lives,’ he said.
Luz Marina holds a picture of her aunt, Marina Azen, who she said is still missing amid the building collapse
Crowds of people were gathering at a family reunification center set up nearby as they awaited news on their family and friends
Authorities say the building was ‘substantially full’ when it collapsed. Of the building’s 136 apartments, 55 were destroyed. Families are pictured at a family reunification center on Thursday morning