Ninety dead were reported in the collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, up from 86 the previous day, according to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
The mayor said that 71 victims had been identified, and their relatives have been informed. However, there are still 31 persons classified as missing. Three children were among those recently recognized, Miami-Dade Police Department reported.
In order to find the bodies, crew members continued to search the remaining pile of rubble, peeling off layer after layer of debris. More than 14 million pounds (6.4 million kilograms) of concrete and rubble have been removed during the relentless search, Cava said.
Rescue personnel are still under pressure to discover victims so that families can bury their beloved, while authorities have concluded that there was “no chance of life” amid the remaining wreckage.
Authorities hoped to complete the recovery phase in three weeks from Wednesday, July 11. However, depending on the latest speed of work, Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said it may be as little as two weeks in an interview Sunday morning, July 11, at the scene. “We were looking at a 14-day to 21-day timeframe,” he claimed, adding that the schedule was still “sliding.”
“To give you an answer when we feel we’ll recover everyone, I can’t give you an exact date,” Cominsky said. “We’re doing everything that we can—everything possible—until we feel that we’ve delayered every floor.” Four teams from Florida, Indiana, and Pennsylvania are still working on the recovery operation. Virginia, New Jersey, and Ohio teams are preparing to depart, the Fire Chief added.
As the recovery work progresses, rescuers peel back layers of debris in hopes of recovering not only victims but also personal belongings that might be important to their loved ones, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett emphasized.
“It doesn’t get any less difficult and finding victims, that experience doesn’t change for our search and rescue folks,” he stated. “It takes a toll, but you’ve got to love the heart that they’re putting into this and we’re very grateful.”
Residents strolled down Collins Avenue, the city’s major artery, to honor the teams that had traveled from many countries—even Israel and Mexico—to assist in the rescue and recovery works on Saturday night, July 10. The incident happened on June 24, and an Israeli team arrived soon after in South Florida.
Levine Cava commended the unit for its relentless service during the short farewell. The Israeli commander and colonel were the first two people she delivered the keys to as mayor. Crew members were on both sides of the roadway, shaking hands and waving goodbye to the Israeli team before they left for home on Sunday.
Alongside other task forces from across the United States to support the crews from Miami and Miami-Dade County, the Israeli crew worked in 12-hour shifts. In the sweltering heat of summer in South Florida and in the heavy rain, they did not stop searching, resting only when lightning was reported nearby. When officials prepared to demolish the condo tower’s remaining half on July 4, they also put a halt to operations.