Vanderbilt student killed in Florida condo collapse

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — The body of a 21-year-old Vanderbilt University student has been recovered from the rubble of a collapsed beachfront condominium building in South Florida.

Andreas Giannitsopoulos was among the six people found dead Wednesday, nearly one week after the 12-story Champlain Towers South suddenly collapsed in Surfside, bringing the death toll to 18, the Miami-Dade County mayor said.

Giannitsopoulos, an economics major at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, was visiting Miami and staying with a family friend.

A GoFundMe page set up to help the family of Giannitsopoulos has raised more than $17,000, as of Thursday morning.

The page states Giannitsopoulos was from Houston, Texas. He was visiting his godfather, Manny Lafont, who was also identified by law enforcement as one of the people killed in the collapse.

“Andreas is an old soul who impacts every heart,” the organizer of the fundraising page wrote. “To know Andreas is to love Andreas.”

Search and rescue teams look for survivors at the Champlain Towers South residential condo, Tuesday, June 29, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday’s fatal collapse. (Al Diaz /Miami Herald via AP)

In a statement provided to News 2 on Thursday morning, the Giannitsopoulos family described the 21-year-old as “a strong Greek Orthodox believer who is now in heaven with God and his godfather.”

The full statement from the family is below:

“Andreas Giannitsopoulos was an incoming senior at Vanderbilt university who was studying economics. To put it simply to know Andreas was to love Andreas. He was kind, compassionate, dedicated, and loving. He put others first always and never hesitated to do so. Andreas was a strong Greek Orthodox believer who is now in heaven with God and his godfather.  He spent his life teaching others how to be selfless in everything they do. His family is hoping people will live with honor on remembrance of Andreas.”

Andreas Giannitsopoulos (Courtesy: Submitted by family)

Vanderbilt University also issued a statement on Thursday morning:

“We extend our deepest condolences to Andreas’ family, friends, classmates and faculty as they deal with this unimaginable tragedy. Our thoughts continue to be with all affected by the disaster as they await news of their loved ones and mourn those lost. We have been closely following the situation in Surfside, Fla., and have reached out to Andreas’ family to offer support. We are encouraging members of our community to draw on the university’s resources, including the Office of the University Chaplain and Religious Life, the Employee Assistance Program and the University Counseling Center, for assistance and support in processing this news.”

There are still approximately 145 people who are listed as “unaccounted for,” as crews continue to search through the rubble of the collapsed building.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has offered support for a grand jury to probe the building collapse amid multiple investigations into the tragedy.

President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, will visit the oceanfront town of Surfside, located adjacent to Miami Beach, on Thursday.

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