Raleigh family says loved one is alive, missing after Beirut explosion

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A Raleigh family says their loved one is missing in Beirut after the massive explosion on Tuesday. It killed at least 137 people and injured thousands more.

They have reason to believe he’s still alive and in need of help.

“It was terrible,” said Bob Singh who lives in Raleigh.

Singh saw the shocking video of the explosion before hearing more shattering news that his son-in-law, Joe Andoun, was working there during it.

“Then the whole thing changed. It became personal,” said Singh.

He said his daughter called to say Andoun sent her a video of the first, smaller explosion.

“She got the video and soon after that, a few minutes after that, there was a big explosion with the mushroom cloud you see on TV all around.”

She then couldn’t get a hold of him and frantically went to the port.

“The authorities there won’t let her go too far and there were also some chemicals in the air, so they were worried about that too.”

After repeatedly calling Andoun’s phone, they finally got through on Wednesday.

“Somebody answered, we’re guessing he answered the phone. It lasted for 21 seconds. He didn’t speak, but they could hear moaning in the background.”

Hours later, another family member got a call to connect. Again, with no one talking on the other end.

They think he’s trapped under rubble.

Andoun’s family said authorities aren’t helping search for him.

“It’s very frustrating. I mean we know for sure he’s alive. We don’t know what condition he’s in and that makes it worse.”

They’re hitting road blocks with the U.S. Embassy as Andoun is from Beirut and not a U.S. citizen, although his wife and two young daughters are.

Singh said Andoun deserves more.

“All we want is the U.S. Embassy to guide the heavy equipment and the phone-pinging equipment at that site to find [him]. It’s a human life respective of whether he’s a U.S. citizen or not.”

They’ve reached out to several lawmakers to get help.

CBS 17 reached out to lawmakers and the U.S. Embassy and will keep you updated on what we find out.

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