Mon. Dec 6th, 2021

The search for victims of the collapse of a Miami-area high-rise condominium reached its 14th day on Wednesday, with the death toll at 46, scores still unaccounted for and authorities sounding more and more grim.

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told family members in a private briefing Wednesday that workers had pulled 10 more bodies and additional human remains from the rubble, raising the death toll.

Crews “did some significant removal of the pile,” he said. “They were able to get down to various areas to inspect.”


Click to play video: 'Surfside condo collapse: Death toll hits 32, recovery efforts ongoing as Storm Elsa approaches'







Surfside condo collapse: Death toll hits 32, recovery efforts ongoing as Storm Elsa approaches


Surfside condo collapse: Death toll hits 32, recovery efforts ongoing as Storm Elsa approaches

Workers on Tuesday dug through pulverized concrete where the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside once stood, filling buckets that were passed down a line to be emptied and then returned.

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The up-close look at the search, in a video released Tuesday by the Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department, came as eight more deaths were announced _ the most for a single day since the search began. It also came as rain and wind from Tropical Storm Elsa disrupted the effort, though the storm was on track to make landfall far across the state.

Searchers have found no new signs of survivors, and although authorities said their mission was still geared toward finding people alive, they sounded increasingly somber.

Read more:
Death toll in Florida condo collapse rises to 36 as crews face severe weather threat

“Right now, we’re in search and rescue mode,” the county’s police director, Freddy Ramirez, said at a news conference Tuesday evening. He soon added: “Our primary goal right now is to bring closure to the families.”

No one has been rescued from the site since the first hours after the building collapsed on June 24 when many of its residents were asleep.

Searchers were still looking for any open spaces within the mounds of rubble where additional survivors might be found, said the county’s fire chief, Alan Cominsky.

“Unfortunately, we are not seeing anything positive,” he said.


Workers helping with the search and rescue walk along Collins Avenue past the completely collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South on July 6, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. The portion of the building left standing after the deadly June 24 collapse was demolished Sunday night ahead of the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa.


Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the families of the missing were preparing for news of “tragic loss.” She said President Joe Biden, who visited the area last week, called Tuesday to offer his continued support.

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“I think everybody will be ready when it’s time to move to the next phase,” she said.

Reporters got their closest in-person look at the site Tuesday, though it was limited to the portion of the building that workers tore down Sunday after the initial collapse left it standing but dangerously unstable. A pile of shattered concrete and twisted steel stood about 30 feet (9 meters) high and spanned roughly half the length of a football field. A pair of backhoes pulled rubble off the pile, which blocked any view of the search effort.

Read more:
Florida spared of major damage as weakened Tropical Storm Elsa makes landfall

Severe weather from Elsa hindered search efforts to a degree. Lightning forced rescuers to pause their work for two hours early Tuesday, Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said. And winds of 20 mph (32 kph), with stronger gusts, hampered efforts to move heavy debris with cranes, officials said.

However, the storm’s heaviest winds and rain would bypass Surfside and neighboring Miami as Elsa weakened along its path to an expected landfall somewhere between Tampa Bay and Florida’s Big Bend.

Crews have removed 124 tons (112 metric tonnes) of debris from the site, Cominsky said. The debris was being sorted and stored in a warehouse as potential evidence in the investigation into why the building collapsed, officials said.

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Workers have been freed to search a broader area since the unstable remaining portion of the building was demolished.


Click to play video: 'Surfside building collapse: Demolition of remaining portion of building went ‘exactly as planned,’ mayor says'







Surfside building collapse: Demolition of remaining portion of building went ‘exactly as planned,’ mayor says


Surfside building collapse: Demolition of remaining portion of building went ‘exactly as planned,’ mayor says




© 2021 The Canadian Press

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