Loved ones waiting for news at Surfside reunification center

Reporter: Michael Hudak Writer: Joey Pellegrino
People looking for loved ones in the Surfside reunification center. Credit: WINK News

WINK News is continuously monitoring every update to come out of Surfside after the partial collapse of a high-rise condominium complex. All the people can there can do is wait, and the hours feel like days.

Inside of the reunification center,  scores of people displaced by this collapse wait around for hours before being escorted to a nearby hotel. The family members that remained waited to hear news of their loved ones and swarmed Gov. Ron DeSantis when he got there. Hours went by before the county organized a list of the people who were accounted for.

One person from each family was allowed to go into a separate room and check to see if their loved one was on the list, the rest of them waiting outside, looking through the window to watch for jubilant or pained reactions, many of them feeling hopeless.

“We’ve never felt this before,” said one woman. “I can’t believe it. A moment you see a person break down, and then that’s kind of contagious, too. But everyone in Surfside… it’s a great place to live, there’s a real sense of community here. And everyone right now is working together.”

One man was on a business trip in Washington, D.C. when his wife called him at 1:30 a.m. Thursday, telling him she thought an earthquake was happening. As of Friday morning, that’s the last time he spoke with her.

“I was on the phone with her at 1:30,” said the man, who did not wish to be identified. “She called me up, and she said ‘I think there’s an earthquake,’ and she looked out the balcony and the pool area had kind of sink-holed. And then the building started to shake and rattle. And then she screamed. And then the phone went dead.”

If you know of someone who is still missing, or have discovered that someone you knew was visiting the complex, the number to call is (305) 614-1819

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