THE grandson of a couple missing following the collapse of an apartment block in Miami has been receiving eerie phone calls from the landline inside their sunken condo.
Jake Samuelson said he has received at least 16 calls from the number of his missing grandparents, Arnie, 87, and Myriam Notkin, 81.
Speaking to WBLG, Jake said the first gut-wrenching call came on Thursday night – hours after the disaster which has left at least five people dead and more than 150 missing following the collapse of the 12-story building.
The family received 15 more mysterious calls from the number on Friday.
But Jake said he heard nothing but static each time he answered the calls.
"We are trying to rationalize what is happening here, we are trying to get answers," he said.
"We were all sitting there in the living room, my whole family, Diane, my mother, and we were just shocked.
"We kind of thought nothing of it because we answered, and it was static."
His grandparents live in apartment 302 in the Champlain Towers South, and their landline usually sits right next to their bed.
The family is now waiting to hear from detectives about the calls, Jake said.
Crews on Saturday were in a race against time attempting to pull any survivors from the 30-foot pile of pancaked concrete and mangled metal.
Teams of determined rescuers continue to sift through the shattered concrete mountain tapping for survivors to hopefully call out and confirm they are alive.
With a sulfur-like stench hanging in the air, they used everything from trained dogs and sonar equipment to buckets and drones.
"Our top priority continues to be search-and-rescue and saving any lives that we can," Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
The mayor said the identification of three bodies has dropped the number of missing people down to 156, and crews have discovered other human remains.
The remains are being sent to the medical examiner, and authorities are gathering DNA samples from family members to help ID the victims.
"I can tell you that at this time, they haven't found any evidence of foul play, she added.
Dr Howard Lieberman, a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue trauma surgeon, explained that the trapped survivors may have become less vocal in their pleas.
"As time’s running out they might be getting a little more sick or ill – not as vocal as before – but, like I said, we’re going to keep searching,” he told CNN.
"I think these guys, you know, that’s their mindset also, they’re just going to keep going, keep going, keep going until, like I said, every stone is turned over and all the rubble is removed."
The first victim of the collapse was Stacie Fang – a mom who helped prop her 15-year-old son from the rubble to safety above.
The 54-year-old, who was lifted from the debris herself, succumbed to her wounds after she was treated at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center.
Her son, Jonah Handler, was rescued by firefighters after the building came down.
It comes after a new report revealed the apartment building had "major structural damage" and needed widespread repairs.
A 2018 engineering report from Morabito Consultants claimed: "The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas."
"Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially," the report stated.
The report cited gross structural flaws of Champlain Towers South that required substantial repair of the damaged slabs.
"These were all problems that should have been dealt with quickly," Gregg Schlesinger, an attorney specializing in construction defects and a former construction project engineer, said.
"The building speaks to us. It is telling us we have a serious problem," Schlesinger about the new documents.
"They kicked the can down the road. The maintenance was improper. These were all red flags that needed to be addressed. They weren't."
Source: Read Full Article