Thirty-six deaths have so far been recorded on the partial collapse of a condominium building in Miami Beach-area, as search and rescue operations reach its 13th day, according to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
She said 29 of the casualties had already been identified.
Victims who are still “potentially unaccounted for” are still at 109 — 70 percent of which are verified to have been in the Champlain Towers South when it partially collapsed last June 24, the mayor said.
Detectives are working to tally the list of missing reports since the collapse, thus, the number of persons unaccounted for fluctuates.
The mayor noted it has been a challenge to get in touch with the people who reported missing individuals. This makes “it very difficult to determine whether an individual was in fact in the building.”
She encouraged family members to get back to the authorities if they have new developments.
Search operations were temporarily stopped overnight due to weather challenges posed by Tropical Storm Elsa.
“We do continue to expect gusts and strong showers today,” the mayor said.
The operation of huge cranes used to move heavy rubble was also affected by the wind, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said.
He said that while the storm’s wind is a “challenge, they’re attempting to work around right now.” Burkett mentioned that the crew “are working 24 hours a day, seven days a week, nonstop” in a bid to retrieve all of the victims from the debris left by the knocked down 12-story building. He is also coordinating with Levine Cave to arrange family visits to the location, as reported by NBC News.
The remainder of the building, which stood for 40 years already, underwent controlled demolition on Sunday evening. Levine Cava said the move was done to permit search and rescue teams to penetrate further through the debris without worrying that the standing portion will also collapse.