These two young Montreal friends were killed in the collapse of an apartment in Florida.But only 1 was found
Before Gromova went to Japan to teach English, the trip to Florida was supposed to be the last vacation between 23-year-old friend Michel Passos and 24-year-old Anastasia Gromova .
These young women met when they were studying in the third grade at McGill University in Montreal, where they were both studying for a business degree. They were living in Pazos’ father’s apartment in Surfside, Florida, and the apartment collapsed on June 24.
As an engineer, Elena Pazos said that from the moment she saw a picture of the wreckage of Champlain Towers South, she knew that her daughter might not have survived.
“When I saw the pile of things left there, there was no structure… I knew it was bad at the time,” she said.
“That’s why I don’t want to watch it anymore.”
A 12-story tower near Miami caused 97 deaths when it partially collapsed. Authorities stated that rescue and recovery efforts need to remove more than 12,000 tons of debris and concrete as search and rescue teams continue to search for the dead.
According to county officials, the Miami-Dade Police have identified 95 victims so far.
According to the Canadian Department of Global Affairs, Passos’ separated husband, 55-year-old Miguel Passos, and their daughter Michel Passos are the second and third Canadian victims identified in the collapse of the apartment. Three weeks later, their bodies were recovered.
Passos said she would remember her daughter as a happy person.
“Michelle is the sunshine in my life,” her mother said. “She is everything to me.”
Passos said that although she was distraught at the sudden death of her daughter, her body was confirmed to be the only comfort.
“I’m very happy,” Passos said. “I know it’s scary [to say] … But when you go through this ordeal to find your loved ones, in the end, you want to hear the news that they have found them.
“The most important thing is that you have lost the people you love and you will never see them again.”
Looking for closure
On June 27th, Sergiy Gromov and Larysa Gromova heard about their daughter and her friend and flew from Toronto to Florida.
“They spent a lot of time together…they have the same idea,” Larysa Gromova said. “They help each other to make the right decisions in life.”
The couple said they had accepted the question of their daughter’s possible death, but needed to determine her body so they could find the end.
“We hope they can at least restore something,” Gromov said. “Otherwise, you know, it’s unbearable.”
The last time Larysa Gromova received a message from her daughter was via text message, because she often sent the latest news about her travels.
“When you check our WhatsApp messages, the last thing [Anastasia sent] It is “I love you”. It’s too hard,” she said.
Nearly a month has passed since the collapse, and Gromov said he knew that rescuers “will not find Anastasia soon.”
Given the humid climate in Florida, human remains will deteriorate rapidly, and he said that detectives told him that DNA testing would take time.
Gromov said his daughter’s life was full of vitality before being cut off.
“She is very smart. She is the strongest in our family, I understand now,” he said. “She’s very smart. She didn’t waste time. She used everything in her life to travel, learn some places, meet friends, and meet people.”
A spokesperson for Global Affairs Canada said in a statement that Canada expresses its deepest condolences to the families of the deceased and provides direct support.