'I have hope, and I am just praying': Families desperate to find those missing at collapsed condo site

Mothers and fathers looking for their children, a wife searching for her husband, grandparents still missing – the catastrophic collapse of a South Florida condominium tower has touched so many lives. 

Fire and rescue crews have been working around the clock to find almost 160 people who are still missing. Police said four people are confirmed dead, with three having been found in the rubble overnight.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and President Joe Biden talked by phone Friday about assisting search-and-rescue efforts at the site of a collapsed condominium building in Miami-Dade County. 

"He reiterated his administration's full support," DeSantis said. "They're all in, and so we really appreciate having the support of the president. And the people of Florida really appreciate the president and his administration stepping up to help people who are in need."

RELATED: DeSantis, Biden discuss search and rescue efforts at collapsed condo site

At a Friday evening news conference, Miami-Dade County Mayor Levine Cava said none of those unaccounted for had located during the day's search efforts.

Joseph Roth flew from New York to visit his stepfather and stepsister for the weekend. He was a day too late. 

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Flowers and name tags are placed on a park fence in honor of the people missing after a building partially collapsed in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, on June 25, 2021. - Four people are now known to have died in the collapse of an oceanfront apartm

"I was supposed to visit them for the weekend. My stepfather has lived there for over a year; my stepsister came for vacation. I got the news and I got on the first flight out with my family," he explained. "It's just very frustrating when you're family is in there and you are praying and hoping that someone can do something," 

Roth said families have been submitting to DNA tests all day to help in the search effort.  People have been distributed images of their loved ones, praying to see their faces once again.
 
"I have hope and I am just praying. You have got to stay positive and that is what I am trying to do. But every hour that goes by, you feel a little less hope leaving you, and it is devastating," Roth said.

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People react as they wait for news about relatives at the Community Center in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, Florida on June 25, 2021. - Four people were confirmed dead and 159 unaccounted on June 25 following the collapse of an oceanfront apartment

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People hug as they wait for news about relatives at the Community Center in Surfside north of Miami Beach, Florida on June 25, 2021. - Four people are now known to have died in the collapse of an oceanfront apartment building near Miami Beach, offici

The 12-story building collapsed just after 1:30 a.m. on Thursday.

Biden early Friday issued an emergency declaration that directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to provide assistance.  

The emergency declaration authorizes FEMA to coordinate disaster relief efforts, reimburse response costs, provide equipment and resources to assist with debris removal and emergency protective measures, and provide temporary shelter and housing for people who are displaced.

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