SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - As the third day of searching for survivors of the partial collapse of a condominium building in Surfside wrapped up, friends and family members of those still unaccounted for continued to wait for news of their loved ones.
Among the family members awaiting an update from authorities is Michael Noriega, who is waiting to hear about his grandmother, Hilda. She is also the mother of North Bay Village Police Chief Carlos Noriega.
Michael said his family found photos and a birthday card among the debris that belongs to his grandmother, something he takes as a sign of hope.
“She had a birthday brunch a couple weeks ago,” Michael said while showing the mementos. “This is all all addressed to my grandmother, Hilda Noriega.”
Michael added, “It’s just a beautiful message in the mess of everything. It’s very comforting to be able to see this.”
A lot of the family members waited for news at the Reunification Center at the Grand Beach Hotel. They are being updated every four hours, but so far they haven’t received the news they were hoping for.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has stopped there in the last few days to give them a briefing..
Inside the center, emotions ran high.
A family member told DeSantis and other officials that more needs be done.
“Imagine if your children were in there. You’re going to leave here, and you’re going to take a nice picture, and I know you’re doing everything you can, but it’s not enough,” she said.
Another woman stepped in to try to calm things down.
“I speak as a daughter, I speak as a sister. These people are trying to help us. It’s not them against us,” she said.
While the families go through the unimaginable, they remain hopeful, and as the search continues, they ask that the prayers continue as well.
Those who have missing loved ones should visit the Family Reunification Center, located at 9301 Collins Ave., or call 305-614-1819.
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