SURFSIDE, Fla. – Dozens of people gathered Monday night on the beach to remember the victims of the Surfside building collapse.
At least 200 people, many of them strangers to the families of those still unaccounted for, shared in the silence and the pain.
Martin Lagesfeld is hopefully still waiting.
“It’s now the fifth day, I have not lost any hope or faith,” the 23-year-old said.
His 26-year-old sister Nicole lived in unit 804 of the Champlain Towers South with her husband Louis.
“I know she’s still there, I know it,” Lagesfeld said. “Keep fighting baby girl, keep fighting. We are waiting for you.”
On day five of the search and rescue efforts, more families chose to take the dreaded ride down to the site of the collapse for the first time.
“They were able to just kind of feel like they were closer to their family members. For some of them, they saw what they needed to see to perhaps start processing the information that has been difficult to accept up to this point,” said Maggie Castro with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue. “The chances of us finding someone alive is diminishing with every hour that passes, but we’re always going to remain hopeful and we are still in a rescue mission.”
Helping the families in their darkest hour is a specialized trauma group from Israel, supporting them with their mental health.
“The waiting, the not knowing, leads to that sense of helplessness,” said Raphael Poch with the United Hatzalah Psychological Trauma Unit.