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Awaiting news, families of condo victims bond together

Photo: Priscilla Du Preez
Photo: Priscilla Du Preez

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Families waiting in agony for news on relatives who were in the Florida condo building when it collapsed are turning to each other for support.

Twice a day for two weeks, they have gathered together in a hotel ballroom in Surfside, where rescue officials break news to them before it is announced publicly.

Some of the relatives have started arriving early and leaving late in order to talk with and comfort fellow members of a tiny community that has been forged in tragedy.

Maggie Castro is a Miami-Dade firefighter and paramedic who keeps relatives updated and has forged her own connections with them. She says even though the rescue mission has turned into one of recovery, officials have no plans to stop the briefings.

Danielle Prieur covers education in Central Florida.