SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - The Family Reunification Center has moved locations to a hotel a block away from the original center to allow for more space.
Family and friends who are looking for answers on their loved ones were initially told to meet at 9301 Collins Ave., but on Friday afternoon, officials said the meeting site would be moving to the Grand Beach Hotel Surfside at 9449 Collins Ave.
Officials said they moved the reunification center to accommodate people who show up with more space. On Friday, crews continued their non-stop search for the 159 people who have not been accounted for.
Sergio Barth holds onto the memories he shared with his brother, sister-in-law and niece. They last saw each other a week ago.
Luis Barth, his wife Catalina and their daughter Valeria were on vacation from Colombia. They were staying in apartment 204 when the Champlain Towers South Condo collapsed, Thursday morning.
“Resignation, but just trusting in God that any miracle can occur, not only for me but for all the families who are suffering the same,” Barth said. “It’s hard. We don’t have any plans. We’re just waiting right here. As I told you, we are waiting for any miracle. There is nothing that we can do, just pray and just wait for– at least, at least, to find them.”
Bettina Obias returned to the reunification center on Friday with more relatives. She said authorities asked for samples of her DNA.
“I’m hoping also that my aunt, who was very physically fit, that she’s still alive, but when you’re close to family, you know when they are gone,” she said.
Obias’ family is searching for Claudio and Maria Bonnefoy, who lived on the 10th floor of the condominium. Obias added Claudio is the nephew of the former president of Chile, and more family members plan to arrive in the U.S. on Saturday.
“Believe in God and please, every time you see your sister or your aunt or your mother or your father, hug them like it’s the last day of their life,” Obias said. “Please, because I can no longer take back the times that I’m not going to have with my aunt, and I wish I had spent more time with her.”
Soraya Cohen, like Obias, returned to the reunification center on Friday in search of her husband, Brad Cohen, and her brother-in-law, Gary Cohen.
“Brad was in unit 1110,” Cohen said. “What was so sad is [my daughter] broke down crying at about 1:30, 2 in the morning last night and said, ‘I wish God took me instead of daddy. Daddy was the best daddy ever.'”
Meanwhile, Albert Aguero, who lived in unit 1106, shared his story of survival moments after part of the condo building collapsed.
“Honestly, it’s a miracle we’re alive,” Aguero said. “I don’t know how or why we escaped. I looked to the left, and our neighbor’s apartment was cut in half from the top.”
While he and his family were going down the stairs, Aguero and his son stopped to help a neighbor in her 80s.
“When we got down to the first floor, the first floor was starting to flood,” Aguero said. “It probably collapsed like 3 feet, so our only way out was to crawl out of some rubble, so we were able to kind of push her along through the rubble.”
Those who have missing loved ones can also call 305-614-1819.
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