TAMPA, Fla. (CW44 News At 10) – Officials say eleven people are now dead and 150 are unaccounted for after a twelve-story building collapsed early Thursday morning in Surfside, Florida.
As the search continues for survivors, families of the unaccounted for are staying at the Grand Beach Hotel just a few blocks away from the collapse site.READ MORE: Florida Breaks COVID-19 Case And Hospitalization Records
CW44’s Casey Albritton went to Miami to see how people are dealing with this tragedy and two volunteers say as time goes on, hope is fading, and the only thing that can get people through this is support from the community.
Evelyn Mendal and Stephanie Dargoltz are both mental health therapists who are helping families cope with the tragedy.
“Most people are just in there, waiting to hear answers,” said Mendal.
Answers that family members can’t get fast enough.
“It definitely feels tense and like people are anxious and there’s a lot of anguish,” said Mendal.
Mendal and Dargoltz are some of the only people allowed inside of the Grand Beach Hotel with families who are waiting to find out if their loved ones survived the Surfside building collapse.
“People are just wanting information and begging for information and thankful for anything that’s being told to them,” said Dargoltz.
Right now, 150 people are still unaccounted for.READ MORE: Child Tax Credit: Monday Is Deadline To Opt Out Of Advance Monthly Payments
At a press conference on Friday, Governor Ron DeSantis said “It’s been gut-wrenching for an awful lot of people but I’ll tell you nobody is quitting here.”
Alan Cominsky, with Miami-Dade County Fire and Rescue, said “35 up to 80 members searching under the main pile, short enough areas, trying to find voices, faces, looking to see if we can find survivors. We’ve been sweeping the pile using sonar devices, our cameras, our dogs.”
But as the wait continues, patience gets thinner.
“Limbo is really hard,” said Mendal.
Mendal and Dargoltz aren’t just helping people, but they are also waiting to hear about people they know who are also unaccounted for.
“There were a lot of people we knew and that was really hard. It was really hard to be so close to it,” said Mendal.
They say holding onto each other is the only option now.
“I hope for resiliency and a lot of strength. Everybody’s praying,” said Dargoltz.MORE NEWS: Delta Variant Presents Challenges To Metro Atlanta Schools
Officials say they are updating families about their loved ones every four hours as the search continues.