Search and rescue teams search for potential survivors and to recover remains in the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building that collapsed on July 07, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. Officials say the death toll rises to 36 today, while 109 are still unknown.
Joe Redl | Getty Images
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniela Levin Cava said during a news conference that search teams have recovered 14 more bodies from the rubble of a collapsed condominium building in Surfside, Florida, which has killed at least 78 people as of Friday morning. Gone.
Levin Cava said 62 people are still unaccounted for and detectives are working to verify that each person listed as missing was actually at Champlain Towers South when it collapsed two weeks ago.
Levin Cava said, “The magnitude of this tragedy is growing every day. It’s a painful hole in the center of this close-knit family in Surfside, a beautiful little community.”
“We know that the hard work of rebuilding has just begun for many of these families, and we are committed to being with them through every step of the process.”
The painstaking search was shifted from a rescue effort to a recovery operation on Wednesday after officials decided there was little hope of people alive in the rubble. But according to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, officials vowed to continue searching for victims until they have cleared all debris at the site.
Burkett commended the search teams for their work, noting that the rubble pile, which was initially four to five storeys high, is now near ground level.
The National Institute of Technology, or NIST, is making “very significant progress” with investigating the causes of the collapse, Levin Kawa said. NIST teams have collected more than 200 pieces of evidence, which have been sent to a physics measurement laboratory in Washington to aid in analysis. NIST is also using drones and lidar scanners in the investigation, instruments that measure the distance to an object on Earth’s surface using light.
Levin Cava said on Thursday that the public also had a “very important role in this investigation.” He urged the public to submit any photos or videos related to the collapse on the NIST website.
Burkett said Champlain Towers North, a similar sister property to the collapsed condominium building, is also being evaluated. Engineers and officials are using ground-penetrating radar and taking concrete samples to determine the structure’s salt content and strength.
Meanwhile, alternative accommodation arrangements have been made for the residents of the sister property who wanted to vacate.
Laura Sola cries while planting flowers near the memorial site for the victims of the collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on July 08, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
Anna Moneymaker | Getty Images
The exact cause of the collapse of Champlain Towers South is unknown.
Recent evidence points to structural flaws long before the building collapsed, such as a 2018 report showing that the 40-year-old building had waterproofing problems under the pool and cracks in the underground parking garage.
Experts have also said that the 2010 repeal of the Florida law requiring condominium buildings to plan for repairs may have contributed to the collapse.
Many resources are being made available to families and individuals affected by the collapse. The Family Support Center continues to provide financial and housing support, along with mental health counseling, as well as other important services.
Officials announced on Thursday that around 200 families have been served by the Centre.
Levin Cava also said on Thursday that rescuers were collecting personal items found in the rubble of the condominium building, such as photographs, technical equipment, documents and jewelry. Officials are developing a process for families and survivors to retrieve missing items.