Third Long Island Native Confirmed Dead in Florida Condo Collapse

condo collapse
Rescue workers walk past debris after the managed demolition of the remaining part of Champlain Towers South complex as search-and-rescue efforts continue in Surfside, Florida, U.S. July 6, 2021. REUTERS/Marco Bello/File Photo

A native Long Islander who was reported missing in the Surfside, Fla. condominium collapse on June 24 has been found in the rubble, Miami-Dade County Police confirmed on July 16.

Brad Cohen, 51, who was from Dix Hills and lived in the Champlain Towers South building that partially collapsed, was found dead on July 7, police said in a statement. The body of his brother, Gary, 58, who was reportedly visiting from Alabama at the time of the collapse, was recovered on the same day.

“We have identified an additional victim that sadly and unexpectedly lost his life in the tragic Surfside building collapse,” police officials said in a statement. “Please keep his family and loved ones in your prayers.”

The brothers were longtime acquaintances of Dix Hills Rabbi Yakov Saacks, according to NBC New York. A friend said Brad was a doctor and a father of two. The rabbi was set to travel to Florida with a third Cohen brother and the Cohens’ parents when he spoke with NBC News a week after the collapse. It has now been more than three weeks since the collapse.

“I feel sick. Heartbroken, I’m a basket case,” Saacks had told reporters.

Another Long Island native, Judy Spiegel, 65, from Plainview, was found dead in the collapse two days after the Cohen brothers.

The death toll in the partial collapse of the residential building near Miami has risen to 97 as the number of people unaccounted for in the disaster dropped to eight, officials said.

Of the 97 confirmed dead, 90 have been identified, Miami-Dade County said in a release on Wednesday.

“The total number of confirmed deaths is now 97 – a staggering, heartbreaking loss of life,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on Twitter.

The updated tally raised the prospect that officials are close to a final count for confirmed dead.

Workers have removed a total 22 million pounds (10 million kg) of debris from the site in the three weeks since the 12-story building in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed on June 24.

Investigators have not determined what caused the 40-year-old Champlain Towers South to fall apart without warning. Attention has been focused on a 2018 engineering report that warned of structural deficiencies.

-With Reuters (Reporting by Nathan Layne in Wilton, Connecticut and Peter Szekely in New York, Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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