Jake Samuelson said he received at least 16 calls from the number of his missing grandparents, Arnie, 87, and Myriam Notkin, 81.
Speaking to WBLG, Jake said the heartbreaking first call came on Thursday evening – hours after the disaster that left at least five dead and more than 150 missing as the 12-story building collapsed.
The family received 15 more mysterious calls from the number on Friday.
But Jake said he heard nothing but static every time he answered calls.
“We’re trying to rationalize what’s going on here, we’re trying to get answers,” he said.
“We were all sitting there in the living room, my whole family, Diane, my mom, and we were just shocked.
“We kind of didn’t think about it because we responded, and it was static. “
Her grandparents live in apartment 302 in the South Champlain towers, and their landline is usually right next to their bed.
The family are now awaiting news from detectives about the calls, Jake said.
On Saturday, crews were in a race against time to try to remove the survivors from the 30-foot pile of battered concrete and mutilated metal.
Teams of determined rescuers continue to sift through the shattered concrete mountain, patting down so survivors can hopefully call and confirm they’re alive.
With the smell of sulfur in the air, they used everything from trained dogs and sonar equipment to buckets and drones.
“Our top priority remains the search and rescue and the rescue of all possible lives,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
The mayor said the identification of three bodies reduced the number of missing people to 156 and teams found more human remains.
The remains are sent to the medical examiner, and authorities are collecting DNA samples from family members to help identify the victims.
“I can tell you that at the moment they have not found any evidence of criminal act,” she added.
Dr Howard Lieberman, a trauma surgeon with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, explained that trapped survivors may have become less vocal in their pleas.
“As time runs out they might get a little sicker or sicker – not as loud as before – but, like I said, we’ll keep looking,” he said. at CNN.
“I think these guys, you know, that’s their state of mind too, they’re just going to keep going, going on, going on until like I said every stone is turned and all the rubble is gone. removed. “
The first victim of the collapse was Stacie Fang, a mother who helped her 15-year-old son out of the rubble to safety.
The 54-year-old, who was herself lifted from the debris, succumbed to her injuries after being treated at Aventura Hospital and Medical Center.
Her son, Jonah Handler, was rescued by firefighters after the building collapsed.
It comes after a new report revealed the apartment building had “major structural damage” and was in need of full-scale repairs.
A 2018 engineering report from Morabito Consultants asserted, “Failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the structural concrete slab beneath these areas. “
“Failure to replace waterproofing in the near future will cause concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” the report said.
The report mentioned significant structural defects in the Champlain Sud towers which required substantial repair of the damaged slabs.
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“These are all issues that should have been dealt with quickly,” said Gregg Schlesinger, construction defect lawyer and former construction project engineer.
“The building speaks to us. He tells us that we have a serious problem, ”Schlesinger said of the new documents.
“They kicked the box on the road. The maintenance was incorrect. These were all warning signs that needed to be resolved. They weren’t. “