Surfside Condo Collapse: Search Crews Recover Four More Victims, Death Toll At 28
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Search crews at the Champlain Towers South collapse site in Surfside recovered four more victims overnight.
Officials announced Tuesday morning the death toll had risen to 32. Of those, 26 have been identified.
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The number of potentially unaccounted people is now 113.
“Detectives are conducting an ongoing and very thorough review of these names and these reports. Many were originally submitted as incomplete. We may only have a name without an apartment number, without a date of birth, or other details. So of that 113, only around 70 of those are people we have been able to confirm were in fact in the building during the collapse,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
“We continue to urge all of the families who are missing loved ones to please reach out and connect with us so that our detectives can file missing persons reports with the police and we want to confirm every single account,” she added.
Crews worked through the night while dealing with the rain bands and gusty wind from Tropical Storm Elsa.
There are at least 80 search and rescue team members working on the pile at any given time, rotating in 12-hour shifts.
“These teams continue through extremely adverse and challenging conditions. Through the rain and through the wind, they have continued searching. They paused only briefly for lightning, which is legally required for up to 30 minutes for pauses whenever there’s a lightning strike within two and a half miles of the site,” said Levine Cava.
“Today we brought in cooling stations closer to the site to provide relief from the ongoing heat as well as county buses, where they can take quick breaks from the wind and other conditions. We’re also grateful to the support from Royal Caribbean, which is providing a dock ship where first responders can also rest between the shifts,” she added.
The mayor said they are keeping an eye out for impacts from Tropical Storm Elsa.
“Regarding the impacts of tropical storm Elsa, we do continue to expect occasional gusts and strong showers today. We’re closely monitoring the weather and we now have our weather service embedded within our search and rescue teams to work closely to track for any changes that could impact the work to assure the safety of our first responders,” she said.
The search area was expanded on Monday after the remaining standing building was demolished Sunday night.
A CBS4 News camera was aboard a boat just offshore and captured what remained of the Champlain Towers South tumbling down.
WATCH: Rest Of Collapsed Surfside Condo Demolished
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On Monday, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chiel Alan Cominsky had a grim update from the search teams.
“The key things we are looking for in regards to void space, livable spaces, we’re not coming across that. We are actively searching as aggressively as we can to assist the families in locating these individuals,” said Cominsky.
GALLERY: Demolition Of Remaining Collapsed Surfside Condo
The chief said while they have not cleared any areas in their search grid, they are making progress.
“Floorwise, we have definitely de-layered several floors, but each grid is different. The magnitude of this collapse and the way the building collapsed in certain areas, you know we’ve been able to go a few floors lower in one grid per se than the other, but we definitely have not been able to get to the lower floors,” said Cominsky.
Levine Cava said as the search continues, so does the evidence gathering process.
“The teams are extremely well coordinated. They’re capturing all possible insights from the debris and all evidence is being properly tagged and logged. The US Geological Survey and National Science Foundation are also sending additional staff and the LIDAR scanners are working so that we can better analyze the debris given the rough terrain of the pile, and to make sure that we have the proper equipment and personnel on the site. All this evidence will be critical to the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) eventual fact finding report,” said Levine Cava.
“We’re going to be making policy changes, as you know, at every level and at every step in the building process to ensure that this can never ever happen again,” she added.
An empty space in the skyline where the condo once stood makes for a jarring sight.
“It’s just the worst nightmare that you could possibly go through,” said Devin, looking at the memorial wall set up in front of where the Champlain Towers South building once stood.
Even in the rain, he and his wife, Marilyn, as well as others, stopped on Monday by to pay tribute.
“I just felt in my heart I had to come down and pay my respects,” says Marilyn. “Even though I don’t know the victims, this is something that you don’t want to happen to your family.”
Neighbors 4 Neighbors has established a fund to assist families impacted by the collapse as well as help feed first responders. To contribute, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404 or go to neighbors4neighbors.org/surfsidefund.
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Harding Avenue has re-opened to north and southbound traffic. Traffic going northbound on Collins Avenue will be diverted to Harding from 83rd to 90th Street. Collins Avenue from 83rd to 90th Street remains closed.