Eerie 'silent' phone calls coming from collapsed building site

·2-min read

A man whose grandparents are missing after the Champlain Towers South Condo collapse near Miami says his family has received 16 static calls from their phone in the five days following the disaster.

Jake Samuelson told Local 10 that his grandparents, Arnie and Myriam Notkin, live in apartment 302 in the 12-storey building that tumbled to the ground around 1:30am on Thursday (local time).

He and his family are still anxiously waiting to hear from them, but said they have received more than a dozen calls from the Norkin’s landline phone, which was located next to their bed.

Arnie and Myriam Notkin, who live in apartment 302 in the 12-storey building.
Jake Samuelson's grandparents, Arnie and Myriam Notkin, live in apartment 302 in the 12-storey building that tumbled to the ground last week. Source: Local 10

However, when they answer, there is no one on the other end.

The first call came at 9:50pm on Thursday, hours after the collapse.

The next morning there was a flurry of activity, but the last call was received that night.

“We were all sitting there in the living room, my whole family, Diane, my mother, and we were just shocked and we kind of thought nothing of it because we answered, and it was static,” Mr Samuelson told Local 10.

“We are trying to rationalise what is happening here, we are trying to get answers,” Mr Samuelson said.

Crews work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo. Source: AP
The death toll rose by just four people Sunday (local time), to a total of nine confirmed dead. Source: AP

Condo death toll rises to nine

Mr Samuelson's mum, Dianne Ohayon, and numerous other people, have been seen visiting the rubble in a desperate attempt to find their loved ones. 

“We are just waiting for answers. That’s what we want,” she told AP.

“It’s hard to go through these long days and we haven’t gotten any answers yet.”

Rescue workers digging feverishly for a fifth day have stressed that they could still find survivors in the rubble of the building.

The death toll rose by just four people on Sunday (local time), to a total of nine confirmed dead. But 152 people are still missing.

Families of those still unaccounted for rode buses to a site nearby from which they could watch teams at work on Sunday: firefighters, sniffer dogs and search experts employing radar and sonar devices.

Some families had hoped their visit would allow them to shout messages to loved ones possibly buried deep inside the pile.

As they returned to a nearby hotel, several paused to embrace as they got off the bus. Others walked slowly with arms around each other back to the hotel entrance.

The last live person rescued was on Thursday, just hours after the collapse.

With AP

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