Surfside building collapse: Grandson gets mysterious calls from missing couple's landline
SURFSIDE, FLORIDA: Tragedy occurred in Surfside, Florida in Miami-Dade County when the Champlain Towers South condominium collapsed on June 24 and killed at least five people - more than 150 people remain unaccounted for at the time of writing this report. As per one news report, a man whose octogenarian grandparents are unaccounted for has now claimed that he has been getting eerie and mysterious calls from the landline inside their now-destroyed condo.
Survivors have said they were jolted awake around 1:30 am by fire alarms, falling debris, and the feeling of the ground trembling on Thursday. The building located at 8777 Collins Avenue was built in 1981. It was 13 stories tall and had 135 units. As per news reports, at least half of the units collapsed in the tragic incident.
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As per a local news report, Jake Samuelson’s grandparents, Arnold ‘Arnie’ Notkin and Myriam Caspi Notkin, lived in apartment No 302 and the family is still waiting to hear from them. Samuelson said his mother’s house line has been receiving calls from the Notkin’s landline phone that he said used to be next to their bed. But the calls have no human voice on the other end - only static.
The family claims to have received a total of sixteen calls. The first of these came in the evening after the collapse at 9:50 pm on Thursday. Samuelson said when the first call came in, the family did not know how to react. “We were all sitting there in the living room, my whole family, Diane, my mother, and we were just shocked and we kind of thought nothing of it because we answered, and it was static,” Samuelson said.
On Friday morning, the family got fifteen more calls. “We are trying to rationalize what is happening here, we are trying to get answers,” Samuelson said. Arnie, he said, is an 87-year-old physical education teacher and Myriam is an 81-year-old banker and real estate agent. Samuelson said the family did not receive any calls on Saturday. The last one was Friday night. As per the news report, attempts to call the number thereafter were met with the sound of a busy signal. The Samuelsons have reached out to a detective, but they have not received any answers as of yet.
North Miami Beach Commissioner Fortuna Smukler, who grew up with the Notkins’ three daughters about 50 years ago, said that she began losing hope when she learned that the couple lived in apartment No 302. Arnie wasn’t walking well, Smukler said, adding that she had spoken to the devastated daughters. “At this point it would be a miracle … we’re hoping for a miracle,” she said.
“My mother passed away 40 years ago and every time [Myriam] saw me she just had something nice to say about my mother… I love her,” she told the Miami Herald. “[Arnie] was just fun to talk to because he had a story…you could tell that they loved each other.”
Smukler said Arnie was beloved in the Miami Beach community, going back to when he was a physical education teacher at Leroy D Fienberg Elementary School in South Beach in the 1960s and ‘70s. Miami Herald reporter Howard Cohen said Arnie was his physical education teacher at the school in the late 1960s and early 1970s.
In a long Facebook post, Cohen remembered the coach fondly and said: “Arnie was a tough coach but in a fair way. Never patronizing. And he didn't give you an award for nothing. I wouldn't have wanted one that way. Arnie served as an example for years later on how to tap into a kid's talents and hone them.”