- The family of a couple missing in the Florida condo collapse keep getting calls from their number.
- The calls come from a landline, but experts don’t know why, The Washington Post reported.
- Officials said they couldn’t find the couple in the area where their apartment may have fallen.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
The family of a couple still missing in the Florida condo collapse are getting phone calls from their landline number, and experts aren’t sure why, The Washington Post reported on Tuesday.
At least 12 people have been confirmed dead, with 149 people still unaccounted for, after the Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside collapsed early on Thursday.
Arnie and Myriam Notkin’s phone was next to their bed, the report said. An official told The Post that rescuers had “exhausted all of our resources trying to verify” whether the two were still alive but picked up no signs of life in the area where they believe their apartment may have collapsed.
“I don’t know how they’re getting the call,” Dave Downey, a former Miami-Dade fire chief, told The Post. “It really doesn’t make any logical sense how you’d be dialing a phone if you were trapped. But we put resources on the area where the apartment was, and we have not found anything.”
Experts said they didn’t know what was behind the calls. The couple’s grandson told The Post he hoped it wasn’t “a sick prank.”
Downey, who assisted in rescues after the 2010 earthquake in Haiti, recalled similar incidents then but said they were discovered to be stalled calls and texts that had been sent days before the earthquake.
Ted Rappaport, an electrical-engineering professor at New York University, told The Post that this sort of thing usually happens with cellphones, but the family is getting calls from a landline number.
Calls to the landline ended in static or a busy signal, the family told The Post. No one has spoken on the other end of the line.
Rappaport said that while it could be an electrical issue brought on by the collapse, he was skeptical because the calls from the landline went to the same number and no other families had reported getting calls from people still missing.
He suggested several other technical issues that could cause the static or lack of noise on the end of the line, but it could also be the case that one of the Notkins is still alive.
“This is unusual enough to give me hope that there’s someone who’s alive and is somehow protected in the rubble and is trying to signal that they’re there,” Rappaport said.
Survival experts previously told Insider that there was some hope that people would survive amid the rubble – but with each passing day, the likelihood of finding survivors diminishes.
“I’m always amazed at the simple things that can take life, but also the incredible things that humans can endure,” Mykel Hawke, a survivalist, told Insider. “So while I always hold out hope, when you look at the big picture as a tactical person, would have to … really, after three days, normal survival rates start to go down very quickly.”