Surfside building collapse: University students in love found dead on day crews recovered 12 bodies
The official death toll of the Surfside building collapse neared 80 on Saturday morning. Families were grieving children, young couples with dreams, and beloved parents and grandparents.
Miami-Dade detectives released the identities of four more victims late Friday night. Search crews recovered two bodies Thursday: Benny Weisz, 31, and Angela Velasquez, 60.
Ilan Naibryf, 21, and Leidy Luna Villalba, 23, were among the 12 dead crews recovered Wednesday.
Naibryf, who was born in Argentina and used to live in Hawaii, was in love with Deborah Berezdivin, a graduate student at George Washington University, friends said. He followed her to Surfside to support her during the funeral of a COVID-19 victim. Crews also found her dead Wednesday.
Berezdivin, who was born in Puerto Rico, was an aspiring architect. She had already graduated from Tulane University. Naibryf, a student at the University of Chicago, was a physics major. He was working on a minor in molecular engineering and was planning to graduate in 2022.
“He also was co-founder and CEO of STIX Financial, a 2021 College New Venture Challenge finalist, served as president of the Chabad House student board, was a former member of the men’s track and field team, and was active in recreational soccer. He will be greatly missed,” a university spokesperson wrote. “We recognize the grief Ilan’s passing brings to our community. Ilan was a valued student and friend.”
Families were grieving for two other couples.
Weisz, who was born in Austria, and his wife, Malki Weisz, 27, were visiting her father, Harold Rosenberg, 52. The couple lived in Lakewood, New Jersey. Crews also found Rosenberg dead on Wednesday. The family was waiting on updates on Malki Weisz.
Velasquez, who was born in Colombia, was a Weston Town Center shop owner. She lived with her husband, Julio Velasquez, 67, and their 36-year-old daughter, Theresa Velasquez, a Live Nation executive who was visiting them from Los Angeles.
Malki Weisz, Julio Velasquez, and Theresa Velasquez are among the 62 people who have been unaccounted for since June 24th.
FILE – In this June 24, 2021, file photo, rescue workers remove a body from the rubble where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed in the Surfside area of Miami. Search and rescue teams from Miami-Dade have been described as among the best and most experienced in the world. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Gerald Herbert/)
Before sunrise, determined crews continued searching for bodies or human remains trapped in the ruins of the former 12-story Champlain Towers South at 8777 Collins Ave.
The early morning collapse of the L-shaped condominium building’s northeast sections left a mountain of compact pancaked concrete. Fire Rescue personnel evacuated the survivors who were in the southern part of the oceanside building.
Terror, anguish, and grief surrounded the area. Hope fueled the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department to summon the eight Florida Task Forces. Crews from as far as Virginia and New Jersey arrived to help. There were teams from Israel and Mexico.
There were intermittent storms and spontaneous fires as teams of 10 to 12 tunneled through the destruction day and night. There were heartbreaking long days full of sweat and tears when crews were only able to find one or two bodies.
The work didn’t stop. With the help of heavy equipment, crews were able to remove about 14,000 tons of concrete and metal. Workers delivered it to a field in Golden Glades. But with the threat of debris falling from above, engineers decided to stop the mission. It all came to a halt about 2:11 a.m. and resumed at 4:45 p.m.
President Joe Biden met with relatives, officials, and rescuers in Surfside. And when the mission resumed, Tropical Storm Elsa threatened the area. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava ordered the demolition of what was left standing and it all imploded on the evening of the Fourth of July.
A cloud of dust grows over the site after demolition teams brought down the unstable remainder of the Champlain Towers South condo building, at left, Sunday, July 4, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. The work to demolish the remains had suspended the search-and-rescue mission, but officials said Sunday it should eventually open up new areas for rescue teams to explore. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee) (Wilfredo Lee/)
The search-and-rescue mission ended on Wednesday. The crews stood around the rubble in a solemn moment of silence and prayer. They had found entire families dead. They had seen a Miami firefighter carry his dead daughter after Florida Task Force 2 Miami recovered her body.
Their commitment hasn’t faltered.
HOW TO HELP: Here’s a list of resources to support those impacted by building collapse Profiles: More about the victims identified Photos: Loved ones name those they say are missing Photos: Search-and-rescue teams in action Hotline and wellness form for residents and families
The timeline of a tragedy
Coverage of July 9
Coverage of July 8
Surfside family faces mix of emotions with father missing, mom and daughter savedDwyane Wade visits Surfside, meets with search teamMother, her two sons, daughter-in-law, and grandson all victims of Surfside collapse
Coverage of July 7
The search-and-rescue operation at Champlain Towers South shifted to a search-and-recovery mission Wednesday in Surfside. In a tragic irony, man who devoted life to structural engineering among dead in Surfside collapseGod can do anything’: Faith remains as Surfside family waitsSurfside victims fund to start distributing $5K per familyLawyers line up to make Surfside condo claims for clientsSearch of collapsed condo shifts from rescue to recoveryBuilding collapse shows town’s rich, middle-class divisionHer father and uncle still missing, 12-year-old Elisheva Cohen discusses keeping positive through faith
Coverage of July 6
Workers walk past the collapsed and demolished Champlain Towers South condominium building, Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Lynne Sladky/)Funerals for 7 victims of building collapse held in Miami Beach, Surfside, New YorkSearch crews recover 8 bodies in Surfside Tuesday, death toll rises to 36Searchers at collapse site ‘not seeing anything positive’Mental health professionals called in to help first responders of Surfside collapseMental health dogs on site in Surfside to help first responders deal with extreme emotional toll‘We have to react’: Group raises $1.5 million for Surfside familiesBuilding collapse lawsuits seek to get answers, assign blameExperts studying Surfside collapse, remains are questioning building’s initial construction
Coverage of July 5
Rescue workers handle a tarp containing recovered remains at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building, Monday, July 5, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. The remaining structure was demolished Sunday, which partially collapsed June 24. Many people remain unaccounted for. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Lynne Sladky/)Additional 3 bodies recovered overnight in Surfside, bringing death toll to 27Tale of rescue after falling several floors in Surfside collapseIdentifying the remains a burdensome task in condo collapseCondo demolition opens up fresh rubble in collapse searchMayor: Crews did everything possible to find missing petsSurfside rabbi learns 2 of his congregants the latest to be recoveredTragedy at Surfside brings with it emotional toll for manySurfside rabbi learns 2 of his congregants the latest to be recovered
Coverage on July 4
FILE – In this late Sunday, July 4, 2021, file photo, the remaining structure of the Champlain Towers South condo building is demolished more than a week after it partially collapsed, in Surfside, Fla. Even as the search continues over a week later for signs of life in the mangled debris, the process of seeking answers about why it happened and who is to blame is already underway in Florida’s legal system. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Lynne Sladky/)Demolition at site of Surfside building collapse could happen before Tropical Storm Elsa’s impactSurfside building collapse: Engineers prepare for demolition; search for 121 suspendedIsraeli Col. Golan Vach no longer believes there are Surfside building collapse survivors under rubbleSurfside responds to issue of delayed building repairsMiami Beach residents, first responders shine light to honor Surfside victims
Coverage on July 3
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, left, and his wife Casey leave flags at a makeshift memorial near the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of victims remain missing more than a week after it partially collapsed, Saturday, July 3, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Lynne Sladky/)Crews on lookout for pets in Florida condo building collapseRemaining structure at Surfside building collapse site will be demolishedSurfside search suspended as crew prepares for the demolition of the remainder of the buildingDemolition preparations begin at condo with storm looming
Coverage on July 2
FILE – In this Friday, July 2, 2021, file photo, search and rescue personnel remove remains on a stretcher as they work atop the rubble of the Champlain Tower South complex in Surfside, Fla. Nobody has been found alive since the first hours of the June 24 disaster that killed at least 27 people in the town of Surfside, so updating the families has so far been a matter of delivering bad news. And what crews are finding is often not intact. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File) (Mark Humphrey/)Miami firefighter’s daughter killed in Surfside building collapse identified as Stella CattarossiSearch-and-rescue team at Surfside building collapse site finds firefighter’s daughter deadNorth Miami Beach condo ordered shut, 300 residents need to leave immediately, city saysSurfside police officers speak about initial moments after responding to collapseBiden has busy day following visit to Surfside
Coverage on July 1
FILE – In this July 1, 2021, file photo President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden visit the Surfside Wall of Hope & Memorial in Surfside, Fla., for the people missing after the condo tower that collapsed earlier in the week. The Bidens spent the day meeting with first responders, local and government officials and visiting with families who have been impacted by the collapse. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh, File) (Susan Walsh/)Biden in Surfside: We’ll ‘pick up 100% of the cost’ ‘Waiting is unbearable’: Biden consoles Surfside families Death toll rises to 18 in Surfside, rescue crews pause operations due to safety concerns relating to standing structure Photographer, daughter and three other family members all missing in collapse Video shows grim reality of what rescuers are seeing at Surfside collapse site Safety concerns halt rescue efforts at condo collapse site Dispatch calls: ‘She’s stuck in between 2 beds,’ but responders couldn’t get to Surfside victim
Coverage on June 30
Search and rescue personnel work atop the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of people remain missing almost a week after it partially collapsed, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky) (Lynne Sladky/)Beloved ‘Dos Elenas’ legacy after Surfside tragedy will be legal reform Family of 4 confirmed to be among victims of Surfside building collapse Death toll rises in Surfside; more than 140 unaccounted for Rubble from Surfside condo brought to grassy field in Golden Glades’Ex-official who said Surfside condo was sound leaves new job Nonstop search efforts at Surfside building collapse site can take its toll on rescue workers Missing woman made phone call to her husband as Surfside condo collapsed Mother of North Bay Village police chief confirmed dead following Surfside collapse Remarkable stories of Surfside condo residents who survived by chance Family of missing woman files wrongful death lawsuit against Champlain Towers South Condo Association
Coverage on June 29
Search and rescue workers comb the rubble of an oceanfront condo building that collapsed, with many dead and unaccounted for, in Surfside, Fla., Tuesday, June 29, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Gerald Herbert/)‘Something inside me said run’: Surfside survivor describes escaping as building came down Surfside resident lucky to be alive after spending night with girlfriend Champlain condo associations try to appease sister towers residents, speed up repairs Condominium law experts say tragedy will prompt more accountability Miami-Dade building audit already spotting issues Army of volunteers showers first responders with food, water Rescuers battle obstacles during their search in Surfside Recently married lawyer and husband missing in collapse Renowned civil engineer hired to investigate Families of Surfside victims keep hope alive by visiting condo and unifying in Bal Harbour Prosecutors will ask grand jury to probe building collapse ‘Our backyard’: Tragedy strikes home for Miami-Dade rescuers Biden to visit Florida building collapse on Thursday In collapsed building’s twin, most residents are staying put Surfside realtor says deadly building collapse ‘hasn’t slowed down the demand’ on beachside condos Beachside vigil held for victims and families of Surfside building collapse
Coverage on June 28
FILE – In this June 28, 2021, file photo, workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Fla. Search and rescue teams from Miami-Dade have been described as among the best and most experienced in the world. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky, File) (Lynne Sladky/)Another body pulled from rubble in Surfside, bringing the total confirmed dead to 10 Residential property audit announced by Miami-Dade mayor already underway Buses take loved ones of missing Surfside residents to collapse site 8 victims now identified following Surfside building collapse 88-year-old Surfside condo survivor remembers those who helped her to safety ‘Don’t give up hope,’ local leaders tell families of Surfside missing Watch out for Surfside charity scams and price gouging Despite warning, town deemed condo building in ‘good shape’ Mayor: Child alone outside collapse site brings tragedy home Who are they? Stories of the victims of Surfside collapse What caused Surfside collapse? Engineer offers insight ‘I will miss you all my life:’ Father pens beautiful note to late son who died in the Surfside condo collapse Memorials grow in Surfside as desperate search for victims continues into fifth day Surfside collapse is ‘wake-up call,’ DeSantis says as questions remain about cause of devastating collapse
Coverage on June 27
This aerial image shows an oceanfront condo building that partially collapsed three days earlier, resulting in fatalities and many people still unaccounted for, in Surfside, Fla., Sunday, June 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) (Gerald Herbert/)State fire marshal provides insight into efforts to locate victims while fighting fire Team of national scientists to visit Surfside collapse site Teams use sonar devices, lasers to aid in Surfside rescue Several families belonging to Miami Beach church remain missing, parishioners gather to pray and hope Neighboring residents express concern as investigation into Champlain Towers South collapse continues Buses take loved ones of missing Surfside residents to collapse site Remembering the dead and missing Search-and-rescue teams tunnel through pancaked concrete 3 days after building collapse
Coverage on June 26
FILE – In this Saturday, June 26, 2021, file photo, rescue workers search in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, in Surfside, Fla. Even as the search continues over a week later for signs of life in the mangled debris of the fallen Champlain Towers South, the process of seeking answers about why it happened and who is to blame is already underway in Florida’s legal system. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Gerald Herbert/)Relative of Surfside building collapse victim lashes out at DeSantis for not ‘doing enough’ Surfside building collapse: Four out of 5 dead identified; 156 remain unaccounted for Missing grandparents’ landline calling from Champlain Towers South condo, family says Surfside tower had ‘major structural damage’ — but enough to cause a collapse? North Bay Village police chief’s mother has been unaccounted for since Surfside building collapse ‘The hope is that there are going to be miracles,’ relative of Surfside building collapse victims says Fire burning beneath rubble of collapsed Surfside condo hindering rescue efforts Surfside building collapse first responders having difficulty locating victims in massive debris pile Miami-Dade Mayor: ‘I’m hopeful this will be the day we have a breakthrough’ Surfside mayor expresses concern over Champlain South’s identical sister building Traffic changes in Surfside area as rescue efforts continue following deadly building collapse
Coverage on June 25
FILE – In this Friday, June 25, 2021, file photo, rescue personnel work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, in Surfside, Fla. Even as the search continues over a week later for signs of life in the mangled debris of the fallen Champlain Towers South, the process of seeking answers about why it happened and who is to blame is already underway in Florida’s legal system. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert, File) (Gerald Herbert/)Champlain Towers South resident survives by climbing through rubble in the dark with her dog Teen identified after being pulled from rubble in Surfside, family confirms mother is among those dead Man who lives in condo looks out, tells wife ‘My parents’ apartment isn’t there’ Surfside collapse: Family reunification center moving from community space to hotel First lawsuit filed after partial building collapse in Surfside Smoke billows out from Champlain Towers South collapse site Surfside officials discuss aftermath of building collapse: ‘Terrible tragedy’ to change recertification Israel sends help to Surfside’s Jewish community Amid anguish after building collapse, memorial, prayer circle help some cope with Surfside tragedy
Coverage on June 24
This photo taken from video provided by ReliableNewsMedia firefighters rescue a survivor from the rubble of the Champlain Towers South Condo after the multistory building partially collapsed in Surfside, Fla., early Thursday, June 24, 2021. (ReliableNewsMedia via AP). (Uncredited/)Officials fear there will be many casualties after Surfside building ‘pancaked’ during collapse Surveillance video captures eerie moments as part of Surfside condo crashes down Man says all he saw was ‘white clouds of dust’ Father remains missing; wife and daughter hospitalized after Surfside building collapse Surfside condo that collapsed was going through a recertification process After Surfside collapse do you need to worry about your building? Officials fear there will be many casualties after Surfside building ‘pancaked’ during collapse Geologist warned of instability in SurfsideRead More