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Surfside Building Collapse: Majority of Deceased Victims are of Latino Origin

Estiman más de 50 desaparecidos tras el derrumbe del edificio en Miami Beach

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Miami-Dade Police released the names of eight of the nine people killed in the partial collapse of an apartment building in the coastal city of Surfside, where rescue teams are still searching for more than 150 missing persons in the rubble.

Most of the names of the fatalities of the Surfside building collapse on June 24 are Hispanic.

The first to be identified was Stacie Dawn Fang, a 54-year-old business executive, who, according to NBC 6, will be buried in New Jersey this weekend.

Dawn Fang’s son, Jonah Handler, 15, was pulled alive from the wreckage of the building the same day of the collapse and is recovering in a hospital from his injuries.

Later identified were Antonio and Gladys Lozano, a married couple of Cuban origin, 83 and 79 years old, who, according to their relatives, feared they would be separated by death.

They would have been married 59 years in July, according to their son, Sergio Lozano, who lives near Champlain Towers and had dinner with his parents a few hours before the collapse.

Another victim identified is Manuel LaFont, a 54-year-old separated man from Houston, Texas, who liked to play basketball with his son in a nearby park and had traveled for many years in Latin America as a representative of an American firm.

On Sunday, Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, Luis Bermudez, 26, Ana Ortiz, 46, and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74, were identified.

Ana Ortiz and Luis Bermudez were mother and son from Puerto Rico and Leon Oliwkowicz and Christina Beatriz Elvira were a Venezuelan couple, according to journalist Shirley Varnagy, a family friend.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava recommended that anyone missing a family member who was a resident or temporarily staying at the Champlain Towers building on the day of the collapse go to the police station to report them missing and have DNA samples taken to facilitate identification.

As of Sunday, nine people had died as a result of the collapse, 152 were missing and 134 people had been located.

For reasons so far undetermined, the northeast wing of the Champlain Towers building–opened in 1981 and with a total of 136 apartments–collapsed in seconds at 1.30 am (6.30 GMT) on Thursday, June 24, when its residents were sleeping.

A few hours later, the first fatality was confirmed, a person who was pulled alive from the rubble and died in hospital.

The search for survivors, which is being carried out in shifts by a hundred rescuers in the mountain of rubble that has become the 55 collapsed apartments, will continue, Levine Cava assured, and the numbers will continue to change “fluidly.”

In addition to bodies, rescuers have found human remains that forensic experts are trying to identify.

This Sunday, relatives of confirmed victims and missing persons had the opportunity to visit the site where rescuers are working and pray for them and their loved ones.

The building and its surroundings are cordoned off by the police and only rescuers and others working at “ground zero” are allowed to pass through.

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