Family members cling to hope as recovery efforts continue at Surfside condo collapse site

'Trusting in God, any miracle can occur,' family member says
Posted at 5:08 PM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 19:00:58-04

SURFSIDE, Fla. — DNA swabs of loved ones are being taken at the reunification center that will be used to help identify people found following the collapse.

For so many families, it has been more than 24 hours of unanswered texts and unanswered phone calls.

MORE: Cause of Surfside building collapse could take months

Families at the reunification center remain hopeful.

"The slimmer of hope is really going and so we do not know if she's alive,” said Bettina Obias.

Obias is starting to fear the worst.

Her aunt and uncle, Maria and Claudio Bonnefoy, lived on the 10th floor of the Champlain Towers for 15 years.

Family members cling to hope as recovery efforts continue Surfside condo collapse site

Obias landed at the airport Thursday visit with them but found out at baggage claim about the tragedy.

"In the car, I was praying, 'God, please let her be alive. I will spend more time with her.' I saw her last month," Obias said.

The loving couple is among the more than 150 people still missing.

Sergio Barth is emotionally drained and also in despair.

MORE: Victims file $5 million lawsuit against condo association

His brother, sister-in-law and 14-year-old niece were staying on the second floor of the condo building, visiting from Colombia.

"Just trusting in God, any miracle can occur, not only for me but for all the families suffering the same," Barth said.

The search and rescue effort is a slow and methodical process.

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said there is hope, as it should be.

"In similar situations like this in Haiti, where there's been a pancake collapse of buildings, our urban search and rescue team has rescued people three days after," Suarez said.

As these families wait, wonder, and pray, Obias only wishes she hugged and kissed her aunt and uncle harder.

"All of you have a chance to love your mother, to love your father. Focus on love forget the hate. Forgive because you won't have that second chance to love," Obias said.

A number of agencies are still working to secure hotel rooms for people that evacuated and survived.

Mental health workers and professionals from across the country are also here provided resources and services.

The shock of this collapse is impacting the entire community.