The Chabad of South Broward in Hallandale Beach reported at least 34 people unaccounted for were Jewish, with the number rising throughout the day as frantic rescue efforts continued.
At least 27 people from the Latin American community – including the President of Paraguay’s sister-in-law and her family – are also still unaccounted for after 50 condos were destroyed when the building collapsed at 1.30am on Thursday.
Among the missing are orthopaedic surgeon Brad Cohen and his brother Gary. Brad’s wife Soriya Cohen spoke to reporters and showed pictures of her loved ones on her phone while waiting at the Family Assistance Center set up for relatives.
Bonnie and David Epstein were on the ninth floor when the building gave way at 1.30am on Thursday. Their son, Jonathan, who lives in New York City said he hasn’t been able to contact them.
‘I’m trying to be a little optimistic, but I just don’t see it,’ he told WJXT. ‘It just doesn’t seem real, you know? Why this building? It doesn’t make sense. I don’t know. I’m struggling to make sense of it.’
The synagogue at Bal Harbour, about eight blocks from Champlain Towers, has opened it doors to help those affected with food supplies and other donations. Around a dozen members of the synagogue are unaccounted for.
Chani Lipskar, the wife of the rabbi, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel that thousands around the world were praying for not just the missing Jews, but everyone else impacted by the tragedy.
Families have started sharing images of their missing relatives online as firefighters continue trawling through the wreckage. Many of their photos have been compiled by CBS4 reporter Frances Wang.