Sat | Aug 29, 2015

Jamaican missing after parking garage collapses in Florida

Published:Monday | October 15, 2012

Jodi-Ann Gilpin, Gleaner Writer

Up to yesterday, 53-year-old Jamaican electrician Robert Budhoo remained missing following the collapse of a parking garage under construction in Doral, Florida, last Wednesday.

Budhoo, who hails from Gimmie-mi-bit, Clarendon, was working on the site when the incident took place.

Three construction workers have been pronounced dead while eight were rushed to hospital during the first 24 hours after the collapse.

Budhoo is the only person still missing, but authorities last Thursday switched from a rescue operation to a recovery effort, acknowledging there was little hope of finding him alive.

Speaking with The Gleaner on Saturday, Sevina Singh, Budhoo's sister-in-law who resides in Waterlane, Clarendon, claimed the family has yet to receive a report from the authorities on Budhoo's condition.

"When I spoke to my sister (Budhoo's wife), she is saying that she is not getting any answers, so nobody knows if he is dead or alive," she said.

"From Thursday until now, nothing has been done. There is no urgency. She said they keep telling her that they can't work beyond a certain time and everyone is just clueless. We just need to know if he's dead or alive. We are really hanging on (the hope) that he is still alive, but everybody is just confused at this point," said a tearful Singh.

She said Budhoo's family, including his wife, three children, and five grandchildren, who all live in Florida, have been having a hard time.

"I'm just really scared for my sister right now because she has a major heart problem and she is crying a lot and she has none of her relatives over there, so she is really having a hard time, and on top of that, she is confused," Singh said.

"His son, who is also a diabetic, is moving around but he is not saying a word to anybody. He is like a walking zombie. The grandkids keep asking, 'When is Papa coming back? Where is he?'" she said.

The cause of the collapse remains under investigation.