‘Unfortunately, We Are Not Seeing Anything Positive’: Day 14 Of Surfside Condo Collapse Search
MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Search crews at the Champlain Towers South collapse site in Surfside worked through the night to find survivors and recover the bodies of those who died.
“Unfortunately, we are not seeing anything positive. 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 Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chiel Alan Cominsky on Tuesday.
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Officials said Tuesday evening that eight more victims had been recovered, raising the death toll to 36.
Of those 36 victims, 29 have been identified.
Three more bodies were identified Tuesday evening. According to Miami-Dade Police, they were 76-year-old Nancy Kress Levin, 52-year-old Jay Kleiman, and 67-year-old Francis Fernandez – who were all recovered on Monday.
The number of potentially unaccounted people is now 109.
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“The bed started to shake. The bedroom itself started to shake. And I thought, ‘I’m having a dream,’” recalled Steven Rosenthal.
Rosenthal was fast asleep in his seventh-floor condo at the Champlain Tower South when it came crashing down.
“The dust from the ceiling starts to fall. And then I said, ‘This is no dream,’” he said.
Instead, a real-life nightmare that turned into a terrifying reality.
“Total collapse. The hall was completely blocked. My neighbor is yelling, ‘Help me, help me, get me out,’” he said. “She said, ‘It’s gone.’ I said, ‘What do you mean it’s gone?’ I’ll never forget it – she says, it’s gone.’”
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No one has been found alive since the first day of the collapse.
To make matters more difficult, the search was paused temporarily Tuesday afternoon due to lightning.
There are at least 80 search and rescue team members working on the pile at any given time, rotating on 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 Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
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.
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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.
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.