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Search and rescue personnel work atop the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of people remain missing almost a week after it partially collapsed, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Surfside, Fla.
Search and rescue personnel work atop the rubble at the Champlain Towers South condo building, where scores of people remain missing almost a week after it partially collapsed, Wednesday, June 30, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. (Lynne Sladky/AP)

WASHINGTON — A Department of Veterans Affairs physician staying at Champlain Towers South is still missing after the building partially collapsed six days ago.

Dr. Gary Cohen, an attending physician at the Tuscaloosa VA Medical Center in Alabama, was visiting his ill father in Florida last week. According to WIAT-TV, a CBS-affiliated news station in Alabama, Cohen was staying with his brother, who had a condo at Champlain Towers South. His brother, Dr. Brad Cohen, an orthopedic surgeon, also remains missing.

The building, a 12-story beachfront condo building outside Miami in Surfside, Fla., partially collapsed at about 1:30 a.m. June 24. As of Wednesday, 16 people had been found dead and 147 remained missing. First responders were still digging through the rubble, searching for survivors.

VA Secretary Denis McDonough said Wednesday he was “monitoring the situation very closely.”

“Our prayers go out to [Dr. Cohen], his family, and to the team at Tuscaloosa,” McDonough said.

McDonough said he was unsure whether there were other veterans or VA employees involved in the building collapse.

The VA sent a mobile Vet Center to Surfside this week to provide free mental health counseling. The center has provided counseling to first responders, as well as veterans and nonveterans affected by the collapse.

Wentling.nikki@stripes.com

Twitter: @nikkiwentling

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