21-year-old Houston native identified as victim in FL condo collapse

SURFSIDE, Florida -- Another man with Houston ties has been identified as one of the victims in the beach-front condominium collapse.

Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21, is one of sixteen victims identified Thursday by authorities.

Giannitsopoulos was on the eighth floor of the Champlain Towers in Surfside, and was a family friend of another Houston native and victim, Manny Lafont, according to Lafont's former wife, Adrianna Lafont.

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Giannitsopoulos, a former student at St. Thomas High School and Annunciation Orthodox School, attended Vanderbilt University as an economics major, according to his profile on LinkedIn.

Dozens of people remained unaccounted for after the collapse of part of the 13-story residential building. Search and rescue teams have been feverishly scouring the site since shortly after 55 of the building's 136 units fell last Thursday.
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Authorities said it's still a search-and-rescue operation, but no one has been found alive since hours after the collapse last Thursday.



Stacie Dawn Fang

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Nicholas Balboa heard someone scream, so he followed the sound. It turned out to be a boy, trapped in the rubble from the Florida condo collapse.



LaFont, 54, was a proud father, a baseball fan and a business consultant who lived on the building's eighth floor. He had a 10-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter with Adriana, the Miami Herald reported.

Adriana asked her friends on Facebook to pray the rosary for Manny before his body was found.

"So many memories inside the walls that are no more today, forever engraved experiences in the heart," she wrote.

LaFont, a Houston native, coached his son's baseball team, the Astros, at North Shore Park, just a mile away from the Champlain. He was a parishioner at St. Patrick Catholic Church in Miami Beach. The parish's school parents gathered Saturday afternoon to pray for LaFont and his neighbors who were still missing.

An alumnus of Sharpstown High School in Houston, LaFont had worked across Latin America and the Caribbean for a manufacturing firm, leading a division focusing on roadway safety that built crash cushions and moveable barriers, the Herald reported.

"I got into this industry specifically because I don't want to sell widgets. I want to help people. I want to do something good in this world," he said at an industry conference in 2016. "When I die, I want to say that my life meant something."

MORE:9/11 fire commissioner sees 'less hope' in finding condo collapse survivors
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Tom Van Essen, the fire commissioner in charge during the 9/11 attacks, shares his thoughts on the rescue efforts at the Florida condo collapse site.



The Associated Press, ABC News and CNN contributed to this report.