Body of GWU student found at Surfside condo collapse, police say

Rescue crews recovered the body of a George Washington University student amid the rubble of the Surfside, Florida, condo collapse this week.

Miami-Dade Police said Friday that the body of 21-year-old Deborah Berezdivin was recovered on Wednesday.

The GW Hatchet reported Berezdivin was a rising junior and that her boyfriend and relatives were  among those lost during the building collapse as well.

Friends described Berezdivin as “passionate” and someone who “always brings out the best in her friends” in a GW Hillel Instagram post.


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A post shared by GW Hillel (@gwhillel)

Berezdivin’s boyfriend, 21-year-old boyfriend Ilan Naibryf, was recovered Wednesday as well.

The confirmed death toll from the tragedy in South Florida stood Saturday at 86, with another 43 people still missing. Authorities concluded that there was “no chance of life” in the remaining rubble, but the pressure has not waned for the crews to find victims so families can lay their loved ones to rest.

Crews in Florida, using their hands with help from heavy machinery, have removed 13 million pounds of concrete and debris from the site.

“We are expecting the progress to move at a faster pace with our recovery efforts,” Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said. He has said that recovering all the victims could take weeks.

State and local officials have pledged financial assistance to families of the victims, as well as to residents of the building who survived but lost all their possessions. On Friday, Gov. Ron DeSantis issued an executive order indefinitely suspending laws that would require the payment of property taxes for residents whose homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable in the collapse. The order also requests that the state legislature explore additional acts that may be needed to alleviate their property tax obligations.

Meanwhile, authorities are launching a grand jury investigation into the collapse. And at least six lawsuits have been filed by families.

WTOP’s Matt Small and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Luke Garrett

Luke Garrett is a D.C. native dedicated to journalism. He is a reporter and the creator, host and producer of the original WTOP podcast, “DMV Download.” The podcast debuted in 2022. On the show, Garrett takes a weekly look at the biggest stories and ideas in the D.C. region.

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