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Alabama doctor, brother considered missing after condominium collapse in Florida

Published: Jun. 25, 2021 at 11:25 AM CDT|Updated: Jun. 28, 2021 at 10:07 AM CDT
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BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - A family friend confirmed Friday that Dr. Gary Cohen, of Alabama, and his brother are both considered missing following the collapse of the condominium complex near Miami.

Dr. Cohen is a physician at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center.

The Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida collapsed Thursday. At least four people were killed, more than 100 people are unaccounted for.

Thursday Rabbi Yosef Friedman at Chabad of Alabama and Rabbi Moshe Rube at Knesseth Israel, held a virtual prayer service via Zoom for Cohen and his family.

Family and friends said they are hopeful the Cohens will be found alive and they know miracles can still happen.

Dr. Cohen’s niece Rachel Backal said, “It’s just all so sudden and sad. My uncle Gary was visiting his brother Brad Cohen, who lived in the condo with his wife and two kids, to visit his father who is unfortunately very ill. Luckily the wife and kids were staying in their other house in Miami, but still this whole thing is just awful. There’s no words to explain how we feel. All we can do is pray for a miracle, and continue to share my Uncle Gary and his brother’s story.”

WBRC was given a statement Friday from the director of the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center:

Dr. Gary Cohen is one of our physicians and has worked many years providing care to our Veterans. He is part of the Tuscaloosa VAMC family and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family during this incredibly difficult time. - John Merkle, Director of the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center

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