MONTREAL – A pair of young Montreal women vacationing together have been identified as being among the dead and missing following the collapse of a condo building near Miami last month.
Michelle Pazos, 23, and Anastasia Gromova, 24, were best friends. The pair met at Montreal’s McGill University, where they both studied business.
Michelle and her father’s bodies were recovered after three weeks, but Anastasia’s has yet to be found.
Accenture, a multinational consulting company with a Montreal office, said today in a statement that it is grieving the loss of its employee Pazos, as well as her father.
“We grieve deeply for the loss of Michelle and her father and our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy,” a statement to CityNews read.
The 23-year-old Pazos was visiting her father’s Surfside, Fla., condo along with her friend Anastasia Gromova, who remains missing following the tragedy.
Miami-Dade police have confirmed they pulled Pazos’ body from the rubble of the collapsed building on July 9, while that of 55-year-old Miguel Pazos was found a day earlier.
Gromova’s mother, Larysa Gromova, confirmed in a written message that her daughter is one of the four Canadians reported missing after the collapse.
WATCH: One of the four missing Canadians has been identified
Local authorities say at least 97 people died from the June 24 collapse, and as of Monday, 95 of those victims had been identified.
A LinkedIn profile associated with the name Michelle Pazos suggests she studied marketing management at McGill University before going on to work in Accenture’s Montreal’s office.
“We grieve deeply for the loss of Michelle and her father and our hearts go out to everyone affected by this tragedy,” the company said in an email.
Gromova’s mother, who flew to Florida from Canada after the collapse, described the wait for answers as “terrible” and “painful.”
“It’s too much, it’s taking too long,” she told The Associated Press Monday.
Her mother Larysa Gromova telling CityNews that her daughter is still missing, but that the women are “best friends, forever together.”
Gromova said her daughter had been visiting Pazos in Florida before leaving to teach English to students in Japan.
“She went on a two-week vacation. She was a young girl. She had all her life in front of her,” the grieving mother said. “Such a sudden thing, so many buildings in Miami. It had to be hers for the one week she was here.”
Global Affairs Canada confirmed the remains of three Canadians have been found at the building collapse site, and that one person remains unaccounted for. It did not name the deceased, but said it was providing consular assistance to the families.
Miami-Dade officials previously identified the first Canadian whose remains were found as 66-year-old Ingrid “Itty” Ainsworth, formerly of Montreal.
She and her Australian husband, Tzvi, had briefly lived in Canada before moving to Australia and, eventually, Florida. The couple had seven children and were celebrating the birth of two grandchildren, their niece Chana Harrel said.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 20, 2021
– With files from The Associated Press