University of Chicago student among 3 Chicagoans missing in Florida building collapse

A University of Chicago student and his girlfriend are among those unaccounted for following a partial condominium collapse in South Florida on Thursday.

The mother of 21-year-old Ilan Naibryf posted on Facebook that her son and his girlfriend, Deborah Berezdivin, were in the building that collapsed in Surfside, Florida.

The University of Chicago also confirmed Naibryf's status in a statement and offered their support.

"The University of Chicago has confirmed that Ilan Naibryf, a rising fourth-year physics and molecular engineering student in the College, is among the individuals missing following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida on Thursday, June 24," Michele Rasmussen, Dean of Students, said in a statement.


A prayer gathering will be held Friday on Zoom at 12:30 p.m., organized by the Jewish Maroons group Chabad, at the University of Chicago. Naibryf is president of the student Jewish life organization.

A second Chicagoan, Juan Mora, was staying with his parents in the building. They have not been located.

Mora serves as a distribution manager at Chicago-based Morton Salt. The company released a statement Friday afternoon expressing its shock and sadness about the incident.

"We are shocked and deeply saddened to learn that Juan is reported to be one of the more than 150 people missing after the Champlain Towers South condo building near Miami, Florida partially collapsed early Thursday morning," the statement read. "The Morton Salt team remains hopeful for Juan, his family and the other victims of this tragedy and will keep them in our thoughts as rescue efforts continue."

The company said it plans to make a $25,000 donation to help support relief efforts.

Another native Chicagoan, 77-year-old Richard Augustine, is also missing

Augustine moved into the building to retire. He was supposed to fly to Chicago to visit his daughter, Debbie Hill.


She says she can see on television the location of his unit, and is awaiting word about her dad.

"I don't feel it’s going to be a good outcome. I know where he was, in the part of the building that collapsed," Hill said. "His unit is on upper floor. I believe he's in the pancake area."

 Hill said she had visited her father’s condo and never saw anything on the property that indicated that it was in danger of collapsing.

At least 99 people are still unaccounted for from the collapse and families continue to wait for any kind of information about their loved ones.

Survivors have been pulled out of the debris, but the search is getting more desperate. Rescuers have been using dogs, sonar and other equipment in that dangerous situation.

Prayers and support are being offered to those families.