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Families await news of missing in Surfside condo collapse: "I want to go back a day and change everything"

Families cling to hope amid rescue efforts
Families cling to hope amid rescue efforts 02:56

Rachel Spiegel just wants her mother, 65-year-old Judy Spiegel, home. "I want to go back a day and change everything," Rachel told CBS News' Manuel Bojorquez.

Judy was in the 12-story building, called Champlain Towers South, when it collapsed just after 1:30 a.m. local time on Thursday. She remains unaccounted for — one of 159 people who haven't been heard from since the collapse, officials said.

"I guess we're just really thankful for all the hard work of the police, fire and EMS services that are out there continuing to search the rubble," her son Michael said. 

"And we hope that they continue to push and not give up and we hope to find answers and we hope see my mom," Rachel said.

The search efforts continued overnight. President Biden declared a state of emergency, on top of the ones declared by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. Florida Lieutenant Governor Jeanette Nuñez told "CBS This Morning" co-host Tony Dokoupil that FEMA has already approved the declaration, so "all of those pieces are in place."

Florida lieutenant governor on condo collapse... 03:38

It's unclear what caused the building to partially collapse. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told "CBS This Morning" co-host Anthony Mason that he is concerned about the surrounding buildings and believes "there is a serious problem." At this time, the focus is on rescuers "trying to pull people alive out of that rubble."

Judy's husband Kevin was out of town when the building collapsed. The Spiegel family described Judy as a dedicated wife, mother and grandmother. She was such a doting grandmother, they are struggling with how to explain this to her three young granddaughters.

Surfside mayor on building collapse 05:30

"The hardest thing we're going to do over the next day or two is tell Scarlet about grandma. That's the hardest thing. Because she was their life, she was there for them day and night. She gave herself to everybody," Kevin said.

The Spiegels, along with dozens of other families, have been gathering at a reunification center and awaiting any news. Mayor Burkett said search and rescue teams are doing everything they can to reunite those families.

"We got crews there, we have been going from 7 to 7 to 7 to 7, and will we keep going until we get everyone we can who can be pulled out, pulled out of that building," Burkett said.

While Judy remains missing, her family said they are praying for a miracle.

"No matter what happens, I want everyone in the world to know how wonderful my mom is, how much, how great of a person she is, how much we love her, and she loves us. Whatever happens, I'm committed to keeping her alive in every sense of the way," Rachel said.

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