Florida Condo Collapse: Surfside Search Efforts “100%” As Tropical Storm Elsa Approaches State, Mayor Says

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“We’re now at 100% full power, pulling everyone out of this rubble heap,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told CNN.

Tropical Storm Elsa has yet to hit Florida with full force, but the rain has started to fall. Despite the weather conditions, the on-site responders were seen donning biohazard protective suits and continuing to search.

Since June 24, teams have dug up to 16 feet of concrete in the hope of locating survivors and recovering the bodies of those in the Champlain South towers when part of the building collapsed in middle of the night. So far, 117 people are still missing and 28 people have died in the incident.

Rescue work was briefly halted over the weekend as preparations were made to demolish what was still standing from the building. Authorities deemed the decision necessary for the safety of rescue teams, especially with the forecast for rain, wind and thunderstorms to come this week.

Although the storm is expected to pass closer to the west coast of Florida, National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Molleda said Surfside could still see dangerous conditions, including “heavy rain, possible localized flooding and even the possibility of one or two tornadoes in South Florida. ”

The storm can cause complications, but with the demolition of the remaining structure, efforts are much safer, officials said.

“The worst thing that could have happened was having a storm that blew up this building on top of the pile,” Burkett said.

This threat had prevented crews from gaining access to much of the collapse site, but now work has resumed without “imminent danger,” Burkett said.

“It’s encouraging to see how aggressively they are attacking the heap,” he said.

The demolition opens up search areas but buries the property of the inhabitants

Authorities attributed Sunday night’s demolition to the ease, safety and speed with which crews operate on the rubble pile.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Monday that teams in the field were making “a lot of progress” and that although the demolition decision had not been made by his office, he believed it was the “right thing to do. do “to help everyone move forward.

The danger was that the structure could fall onto the already existing rubble – or those working on it – with very little warning or control. Instead, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on Monday that crews were able to complete the demolition “exactly as planned.”

“Only dust landed on the existing heap,” she said.

A family of four, a 60-year-old love story, a young man with muscular dystrophy: what we know about the victims of the collapse

“Really, we couldn’t go on without bringing this building down,” Cava said. “As we speak, crews are working on that part of the pile that was not accessible before the building was demolished.”

But the feelings are more complicated for the residents who lived in the part of the building that was demolished: they were evacuated and were then told that it was not safe to enter and collect their belongings before the structure is destroyed.

Burkett said people around the world have raised millions of dollars to support these families, many of whom have been relocated to hotels. Authorities also asked them to catalog their personal items in the hopes of recovering them from the debris and returning them.

“All politicians are focused on supporting families and getting everyone out of this rubble and reuniting them with their families,” Burkett told CNN’s Boris Sanchez. “It really is a beautiful thing. There is a lot of love here.”

The authorities have not given up on the hope of finding people alive

Since returning to work after the demolition, rescue teams have recovered four additional bodies.

Two of those who died have been identified as Ingrid Ainsworth, 66, and Tzvi Ainsworth, 68, according to the Miami-Dade Police Department. Two of the 28 victims killed in the incident remain unidentified.

The remainder of the partially collapsed Surfside condo has been demolished

The victims are between 4 and 92 years old.

As the search nears two weeks, the Israel Defense Forces National Rescue Unit of Home Front Command Colonel said it was still a rescue mission.

This means that the authorities are not only looking for remains, there is always hope of locating living victims.

“There’s no giving up hope,” Burkett said. “I think we’re all united on this. We owe it to families. We have a duty, unlimited resources – we’re going to make sure everyone comes out.”

Correction: An earlier version of this story gave Daniella Levine Cava the wrong title. She is the mayor of Miami-Dade.

CNN’s Allison Flexner, Raja Razek, Amanda Watts, Kay Jones, Gregory Lemos, Rosa Flores contributed to this report.


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