Condo collapse’s 159 missing memorialized as search continues

Friends and family members are putting a face to the names of the 159 people still missing in the Florida condo collapse, pinning photos of their loved ones on a fence a few blocks from the rubble that was once Champlain Tower South.

For New Yorkers, the sight of the fence filled with faces will serve as an eerie reminder of the days after 9/11, when rescue workers combed a smoking pile of rubble for survivors and bereft loved ones posted photos of the missing as they stood vigil, waiting for any signs of hope.

Just four people are confirmed dead in the tragic collapse, with 159 officially “unaccounted for.” A massive search and rescue operation continues at the site, but so far, no one has been pulled out since Thursday morning.

Leo Soto, 26, started the memorial, according to the Miami Herald, bringing some flowers, candles and photos of some of the people who were still missing after the condo.

Leo Soto kneels in front of a memorial
Leo Soto kneels in front of the memorial he started. He has two friends among the missing.
Getty Images
Photos of missing people are posted on a fence near the site of the Champlain Towers South Condo after the building collapsed on June 25, 2021 in Surfside, Fla.
Photos of missing people are posted on a fence near the site of the Champlain Towers South Condo after the building collapsed on June 25, 2021 in Surfside, Fla.
AP
Pictures of missing people are seen hanging on a fence at a memorial on Harding Avenue as the rescue personnel continue their search for victims.
Pictures of missing people are seen hanging on a fence at a memorial on Harding Avenue as the rescue personnel continue their search for victims.
REUTERS

“It gives people another place where they don’t have to deal with the stress and they can simply pay their respect,” he said. He hoped it would give people a few moments of peace.

Soto told WPLG he has two friends among the missing.

“I saw them looking over the rubble, so if they are, that is hope,” he said. “What were they thinking in that 10 seconds that they had of life? Did they say, ‘I love you’? Did they say, ‘This is it’?”

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