(SURFSIDE, Fla.) — From the mother of a teenage boy rescued from the rubble to a couple married for 59 years, more information is emerging about the victims of a partial building collapse in Surfside, Florida.
At least 18 people have been confirmed dead and 145 others remain unaccounted for since the Champlain Towers South, a 12-story oceanfront condominium, partially collapsed before dawn last Thursday. A massive search and rescue mission is still underway, as officials hold out hope that more survivors will be found in the wreckage.
Local police and relatives have identified several of the victims.
Stacie Dawn Fang, 54
Stacie Dawn Fang, who lived in apartment No. 1002 of the Champlain Towers South, was the first victim to be identified in the tragedy.
The 54-year-old mother and her 15-year-old son, Jonah Handler, were both pulled from the rubble alive just hours after the partial collapse. A man walking his dog near the scene spotted Handler in the debris and alerted first responders.
“We could hear someone screaming, yelling, making noise,” Nicholas Balboa told ABC News. “He was putting his hands up through the rubble, saying, ‘Don’t leave me, don’t leave me.’ That’s when I signaled firefighters to get over here.”
The mother and son were transported to a local hospital, where Fang later died. Her identity was released by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Saturday.
“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie,” Fang’s family told ABC News in a statement. “The members of the Fang and Handler family would like to express our deepest appreciation for the outpouring of sympathy, compassion and support we have received. The many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much needed source of strength during this devastating time. On behalf of Stacie’s son, Jonah, we ask you now to please respect our privacy to grieve and to try to help each other heal.”
Antonio and Gladys Lozano, 83 and 79
The body of 83-year-old Antonio Lozano was recovered from the wreckage by first responders on Thursday, while the body of his 79-year-old wife, Gladys Lozano, was recovered Friday. The couple lived in apartment No. 903 of the Champlain Towers South. Their identities were released by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Saturday.
Antonio and Gladys Lozano were married for 59 years and always use to spar over who would die first, with neither willing to live without the other, according to the couple’s grandson, Brian Lozano.
“It’s tragic but it’s strangely unsettling that I have peace knowing they would constantly play argue about who would pass first,” Brian Lozano told ABC News in a statement. “But in the end… they got what they both wanted. Each other.”
“Both were avid donators to non profit organizations especially to cancer since my grandmother lost her mother to the sickness,” he added. “Always providing for anyone who’s in need or just to spark a smile on someone’s face. Their souls were truly beautiful and are now blessed.”
The couple’s son, Sergio Lozano, said he lived in the tower across from his parents and had dinner with them the night before the deadly disaster. He said he heard a rumble at around 1 a.m. local time and got out of bed to look out on the balcony of his unit.
“I tell [my wife], ‘It’s not there,'” Sergio Lozano told Miami ABC affiliate WPLG. “And she’s yelling, ‘What do you mean?’ ‘My parents’ apartment is not there, it’s gone!’ and I just ran downstairs.”
Manuel LaFont, 54
Manuel LaFont’s body was recovered from the wreckage by first responders on Friday and identified by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Saturday. The 54-year-old lived in apartment No. 804 of the Champlain Towers South.
LaFont shared two children with his ex-wife, a 13-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. LaFont’s ex-wife, Adriana LaFont, said she picked up the kids from his apartment on Wednesday night, just hours before the collapse.
Leon Oliwkowicz and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 80 and 74
The body of 80-year-old Leon Oliwkowicz was recovered from the wreckage by first responders on Saturday and identified by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Sunday. The body of his 74-year-old wife, Christina Beatriz Elvira, was recovered and identified on Sunday.
The couple lived in apartment No. 704 of the Champlain Towers South, their daughter told WPLG.
Anna Ortiz and Luis Bermudez, 46 and 26
The bodies of 46-year-old Anna Ortiz and her 26-year-old son, Luis Bermudez, were recovered from the wreckage by first responders on Saturday and identified by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Sunday.
Their family told ABC News that the mother and son were found together and that they are certain she ran to be by his side, saying she was “always his protector.”
Anna Ortiz’s sister, Nicole Ortiz, said it was agonizing not knowing whether her loved ones were still trapped and in pain.
“I didn’t have the certainty. Are they alive or dead? Now I know they are OK,” Nicole Ortiz told ABC News.
Anna Ortiz’s mother, Josefina Enriquez, said she was a wonderful mom.
“It’s hard. I know this will take time,” Josefina Enriquez told ABC News. “I know she left with her son, and they had a beautiful, amazing life.”
“Those are the memories that will stick,” she added. “Their love for each other — that’s what I walk away with.”
Two other relatives who were in the apartment at the time of the partial collapse remain unaccounted for, according to the family.
Frank Kleiman, 55
Frank Kleiman’s body was recovered from the wreckage by first responders and identified by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Monday. He was 55.
Kleiman had just gotten married to Anna Ortiz and they lived with her son, Luis Bermudez, in the Champlain Towers South.
His brother, Jay Kleiman, and their mother, Nancy Kress Levin, were on the same floor when the building partially collapsed and are still missing, according to The Associated Press.
Marcus Joseph Guara, 52
The body of 52-year-old Marcus Joseph Guara was recovered from the wreckage by first responders on Saturday and identified by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Monday.
Guara lived in the Champlain Towers South with his 41-year-old wife, Ana, and their two daughters, 11-year-old Lucia and 4-year-old Emma. They are still missing, according to the WPLG.
Michael David Altman, 50
Michael David Altman’s body was recovered from the wreckage by first responders and identified by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Monday. He was 50.
Altman lived in apartment No. 1101 of the Champlain Towers South, according to WPLG.
Hilda Noriega, 92
The body of 92-year-old Hilda Noriega was recovered from the wreckage by first responders on Tuesday and identified by the Miami-Dade Police Department on Wednesday.
Noriega lived in the Champlain Towers South, according to her grandson, Michael Noriega, who had told ABC News on Monday that their family was holding out hope she would be alive. The family had spotted a birthday card and photographs belonging to her amid the rubble, just feet away from where they were praying together.
ABC News’ Matt Foster, Kate Hodgson, Stephanie Ramos, Gina Sunseri and Stephanie Wash contributed to this report.
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