Updated Jul 9, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Remembering the victims of the Surfside condo collapse

Surfside memorial

Flowers are seen at a memorial to those missing outside the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building that partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida. Photo: Saul Martinez/Getty Images

They were mothers, fathers, grandparents, newlyweds and young daughters. The victims identified so far from the Surfside condo collapse are being remembered by family and friends as "very dedicated," "super mom" and a "silent warrior."

The big picture: So far, 47 of the 78 confirmed victims have been identified. At least 62 people remain unaccounted for, officials said Friday, two days after they announced the search was shifting from a rescue to a recovery operation.

  • "Just based on the facts, there’s zero chance of survival," assistant Miami-Dade Fire Rescue chief Ray Jadallah told the families Wednesday, according to the New York Times.

The victims include:

Michael Davis Altman, 50, was an accountant who lived in the condo building for more than six years, per the Miami Herald. His unit had been in the family since the 1980s.

  • He was originally from Costa Rica. His son, Nicholas, wrote on Facebook, "Best father a son can ask for. Forever in my heart."

Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74, and Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, recently moved to Surfside, per the Miami Herald. They hailed from Venezuela.

  • The couple is survived by four children and 11 grandchildren, according to USA Today.

Luis Bermúdez, 26, was nicknamed, "Luiyo," by loved ones and described himself on Instagram as a man with "a big heart."

  • Bermúdez, who used a wheelchair, had muscular dystrophy, per the Miami Herald.
  • "Luis taught us more about COURAGE, PERSEVERANCE, and about how to make the best of one's LIFE than any book, any lesson or any theory," Jose J. Ortiz Carlo, Bermúdez's former teacher, wrote on Facebook. "He was the embodiment of what it means to be a true SILENT WARRIOR."
  • Bermúdez lived in a 7th floor condo with his mother, Ana Ortiz.

Ana Ortiz, 46, and Frank "Frankie" Kleiman, 55, were newlyweds.

  • Ortiz, who grew up in Puerto Rico, was described by close friends as "super mom," per the Miami Herald.
  • Kleiman was a grandfather-to-be who was nicknamed, "a man with an eternal smile," at a school reunion 15 years ago, the Herald reported. Kleiman's mom, who lived on the same floor, and brother, who was visiting from Puerto Rico, are among those who remain missing.

Stacie Dawn Fang, 54, was the mother of 15-year-old Jonah Handler, who was rescued from the rubble of the condo collapse on June 25, per the Miami Herald.

  • "There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie," Fang's family said in a statement, ABC News reported.
Family members hold vigil for the missing victims of Surfside condo collapse in Surfside, Florida
Toys and flowers are placed at a makeshift memorial for the victims of the Surfside condo collapse. Photo: Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Marcus Joseph Guara, 52, and Anaely Rodriguez, 42, lived in the building with their two daughters, Emma and Lucia, who also died.

  • Guara's cousin, Peter Milián, described the 52-year-old father as "a great brother, uncle, cousin, son, and loved his daughters passionately" and someone who "loved life," per the Miami Herald.
  • Rodriguez was described as kind by family, but feisty, per The Palm Beach Post.
  • Lucia Guara, 10, was described as "tall and sweet" by friends, the Miami Herald reported.
  • Emma Guara was four years old. The family enjoyed going to the beach.

Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21, was a senior at Vanderbilt University and was visiting Manuel LaFont, a family member, at the time of the collapse, per the Tennessean.

  • Father James Murphy, who is president of the high school Giannitsopoulos attended, described the young man as "very dedicated, very focused, very hard working." 

Manuel "Manny" LaFont, 54, was a proud father and business consultant who could often be found playing baseball with his son Santi, in the afternoon, per the Miami Herald.

  • LaFont's former partner, Adriana wrote on Facebook, "So many memories inside the walls that are no more ... My Manny, who was my partner for so many years, father of my children, who scolds me and loves me at the same time."

Antonio Lozano, 83, and Gladys Lozano, 79, were described as "beautiful people" who were married for 59 years, the Miami Herald reported.

Hilda Noriega, 92, was characterized by her grandson as the sweetest, the most loving and most generous person whose energy was "boundless," per the Miami Herald.

  • "The Noriegas have lost the 'heart and soul' and 'matriarch' of their family, but will get through this time by embracing the unconditional love Hilda was known for," her family said in a statement through the government of North Bay Village, where her son is the police chief.

Claudio Bonnefoy Bachelet, 85, and Maria Obias-Bonnefoy, 69, who was described by her niece as "the heart and soul of the family," according to NBC Miami.

  • Claudio was a relative of former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

David Epstein, 58, and Bonnie Epstein, 56, moved into the oceanfront condo a few years ago to enjoy early retirement and their passion for water sports, the Miami Herald.

Nancy Kress Levin, 76, and her son Jay Kleinman, 52, were part of an extended Cuban-Puerto Rican family, the Miami Herald reports.

  • Many members of the family were reported missing after the collapse: Frank Kleiman, Ana Ortiz, and Luis Bermúdez, who are among the identified victims, and Deborah Berezdivin, who's still missing, along with her boyfriend Ilan Naibryf.

Francis Fernandez, 67, was the mother of three and spent the night with friends at the Champlain building when it collapsed, per Local 10.

Tzvi Ainsworth, 68, and Ingrid Ainsworth, 66, were described as doting grandparents who were also known for their hospitality and love for helping others.

Gonzalo Torres, 81, lived with his wife Maria Torres, who is still unaccounted for, at the apartment building. Both were members of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, the same church that the Guara family attended, per Local 10.

Graciela Cattarossi, 48, and her daughter, Stella Cattarossi, 7, were close.

  • As a single mother, Graciela's "devotion to her child was unparalleled," per the Miami Herald.

Gino Cattarossi, 89, and Graciela Cattarossi, 86, were Stella's grandparents and lived with their daughter and granddaughter, per ABC News.

Magaly Elena Delgado, 80, was known to be a "tough grandma" who sought to teach her work ethic to her two grandsons. Delgado emigrated from Cuba in 1961 and worked all her life, per Miami Herald.

Simon Segal, 80, was a structural engineer who taught at Florida International University, per ABC News.

  • The Havana native was "80 going on 50," his family told ABC.

Gary Cohen, 58, was a psychiatrist and attending physician at a Veterans Affairs medical center in Alabama. He was in Florida visiting his ailing father and staying with his brother Brad, who remains missing, reports ABC News.

Elaine Sabino, 71, was a "beloved mother, sister and friend.

  • She was known for her bubbly personality and love of glitter, her daughter Stephanie McManus told ABC News.
  • "Her greatest passion is seeing the world and meeting with old and new friends no matter where they are," McManus said.

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Editor's note: This story will be updated as new information is released.

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