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'We're Still Hopeful' Family Members Whose Loved Ones Lived In Collapsed Condo Visit Site

MIAMI (CBSMiami) - Family members and friends of those involved in the tragic collapse of a Surfside condo got an opportunity to see the horrific aftermath Sunday with their own eyes.

"It was tragic, it was really hard to see up close, there's a lot of rubble," said Amelia Cardozo.

Amelia Cardozo and her sister Anisabela saw what was left of Champlain Tower South for the first time Sunday, their Aunt Maria and her husband were inside when it all came down.

"She lived on the 10th floor of the building and her unit is completely collapsed. The entire section of that building is collapsed. Today we're able to see the rubble and we saw how hard they're working so we're still hopeful," said Anisabela Cardozo.

The Cardozo sisters weren't the only ones who took the opportunity to visit the site. Officials organized multiple busloads full of Champlain Tower South loved ones. Nicole Ortiz was among them.

"The first time I went to the site I knew that her apartment wasn't there, so I was devastated," said Ortiz referring to her sister Anna and her nephew Louis Andres.

The two were among those whose bodies have been recovered. Ortiz said the last few days have been torture but she is now in a place of acceptance.

"I'm at peace because I know they have accepted Jesus as a savior and they're both in heaven right now so I'm at peace," added Ortiz.

More than six busloads of family and friends were taken to the site, many of them experienced similar emotions, but in the midst of the tragedy, there are stories of miracles.

"I felt the house shaking, the bed, and then I got on the floor and it shakes again. Then I went to the balcony and I saw smoke, dust from both sides of the building. I didn't realize the whole building collapsed but then I heard a crumbling noise, boom boom boom like an earthquake", said Moshe Candiotti who lived in the collapsed building. Then after that, I picked up my senses and I ran out of the house to the stairs, that's when the fire department came and helped me because I was full of dust, my whole body was full of dust."

Candiotti was rescued with just a small scratch on his hand. Even though he now considers himself the luckiest person alive, he's hoping for a miracle for the rest of his neighbors. And those, like the Cardozo's, remain optimists.

"To see the amount of people working, all the dogs barking showing that there's sign of life and the people getting on it immediately with jackhammers, working so hard to pull rubble up to get to these people who might still be in there, it gave us hope at the same time," added Amelia Cardozo.

For those looking to help, Neighbors 4 Neighbors has established a fund for those in need. To contribute, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404 or go to

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