Relatives of missing persons in Tel Aviv building collapse: “We pray and wait for answers”

The nephew of Mohammad Dawabsheh from the village of Duma, who is still missing under the ruins of the parking garage that collapsed in Tel Aviv yesterday, shared the emotions he and his family have been going through in the past 24 hours: “We are all praying. The entire village is praying.”

Watch: Footage of the collapse

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In the last hours, as has been the case throughout the past day, Israeli search and rescue forces continue their efforts to locate missing persons that are still under the ruins of the parking garage that collapsed yesterday in Ramat HaHayal neighborhood. The family members of one of these missing persons, Mohammad Dawabsheh from the Palestinian village of Duma, are still waiting to receive information about their loved one.

“I’ve been here since yesterday evening and we are still being told that they’re searching. They’ve been working for 24 hours and have yet to update us about his exact whereabouts,” Dawabsheh’s nephew Rafat told Channel 2 Online News. “We are all waiting for answers from the police and the army. They told us that they have been hearing people speak in Arabic since yesterday but they don't know who exactly and they have no names. They asked us for all his details – his hair color, how he was dressed. We are all praying. The entire village is praying.”

Meanwhile, the elevator technician who documented the disaster recounted the terrible moments. “We were in the opposite building and we saw smoke rise up till the fourth floor,” he explained. “We heard that a crane had fallen, but it is impossible that so much smoke would rise from a crane. We came to see what happened and saw that all four floors collapsed and there were people there. We heard the screams and whistles of people who were trapped and were pleading to be rescued.”

A body being pulled out of the ruins, this morning Photo Credit: Channel 2 News

“When we approached the fence, we saw that workers that were on the top managed to get out and escaped in complete shock,” he continued. “Those who were on the top floor found themselves suddenly at level minus 4. They were also in shock and didn’t know what to do. They were trapped and couldn’t climb up from the pit they were in. It was frightening to hear.”

In the footage documented by the elevator technician, some of the workers who were trapped under the ruins can be heard crying for help, with the sound of police car and ambulance sirens already in the background. A senior-level officer from Israel’s Home Front Command who saw the dramatic footage asked for a copy in order to assist the investigation into the circumstances that led to the incident.

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