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Beachside Condo Collapses in Miami, Killing 9 People | 156 Remain Unaccounted For as Rescue Operations Continue

Beachside Condo Collapses in Miami, Killing 9 People | 156 Remain Unaccounted For as Rescue Operations Continue

The numbers were confirmed by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a press conference.

A 12-story condo collapsed in Surfside, Florida, on Thursday, June 24. Per NPR, there have been nine victims, and authorities have publicly identified eight of them, ranging in age from 26 to 83, including the four victims previously named. The names of eight of the nine victims are: Stacie Fang, 54, Antonio Lozano, 83, Gladys Lozano, 79, Manuel LaFont, 54 Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Luis Bermudez, 26; Anna Ortiz, 46; and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74.

156 people continue to remain unaccounted for [at the time of publication] as rescue efforts move forward. The numbers were confirmed by Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a press conference Sunday morning.

"We were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble, as well as additional human remains," she explained. "As of today, one victim passed away in the hospital and we've recovered eight more victims on sight."



 

Levine Cava provided further detail in another press conference Saturday night. "Our top priority continues to be search and rescue and saving any lives that we can. And our brave firefighters are telling us that that's the right thing to do, and we stand with them," she began. "Our teams have been working around the clock as always to search for survivors, they have not stopped."

During a press conference on Saturday night, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said rescuers were continuing with their "aggressive search and rescue strategy."

"We were able to contain the fire and minimize the smoke earlier this morning ... and we've continued our search and rescue efforts," he said. "Currently we're searching the entire debris field. We separated into multiple sections and we're actively - with our five task force that we rotate through - we actively are applying our search and rescue techniques."

"We'll continue going through this as hard as we can. I'm very proud of our task force members, I'm very proud of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and all our activities that we've done," Cominsky added. "We're gonna continue searching and hopefully with a positive outcome."



 

The beachside building, Champlain Towers South at 8777 Collins Ave., was built in 1981. While authorities are yet to release the reason for the building to collapse, Levine Cava said it could be a “structural engineering question.” The building had been undergoing renovations and roof work at the time of the collapse, officials said, cites ABC News. A 2018 structural field survey report raised concerns about structural damage to the concrete slab below the pool deck and “cracking and spalling” located in the parking garage.

The report, which didn't give any indication that the structure was at risk of collapse, was completed by Frank Morabito with Morabito Consultants. An attorney for the building's condominium association, Kenneth Direktor, warned against early speculation. He mentioned that the building was undergoing a series of inspections "over the last several months" as part of its milestone 40-year safety certification process.

"Nothing like this was foreseeable," Direktor said. "At least it wasn't seen by the engineers who were looking at the building from a structural perspective."



 

According to The New York Times, survivors said they woke up around 1:30 am to the sound of fire alarms, falling debris, and the feeling of the ground trembling. The sound “was like a big thump all of a sudden,” said Fiorella Terenzi, an associate professor at Florida International University who lives in a neighboring building. Albert Aguero, who uses the condominium as a holiday home with his wife, said it was a scary experience.

“I looked to the left, and the apartment is half sheared off. I looked right ahead, which is where the elevators are supposed to be, it was just two empty elevator shafts,” Aguero said of Thursday's collapse. “Thankfully, the emergency exit light to the staircase was lit up, so we sprinted to the staircase and opened that door, only to realize that the wall had partially collapsed there. At that moment, it really hit me that we were racing against time to get to the bottom of the building before the entire thing came down,” he said Sunday afternoon.



 

“It's a building on the beach," Albert Aguero said. "It shouldn't collapse when you go to sleep, right?”

The search and rescue operations are still underway and people with missing family members feel like enough isn't being done. However, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said that he is expecting miracles and will continue to support search and rescue operations until everyone is pulled out of the rubble, cited CNN.

"We have armies ready to go 24 hours a day 7 days a week," Burkett said. "It's not going to stop until we pull everybody out."

References:

https://edition.cnn.com/us/live-news/miami-florida-building-collapse-06-27-21-intl/index.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/live-updates-miami-area-condo-collapse/2021/06/27/1010783330/4-more-victims-identified-in-florida-condo-collapse

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/06/24/us/miami-surfside-building-collapse.html

https://abcnews.go.com/US/death-toll-climbs-search-survivors-collapsed-florida-condo/story?id=78519477

Cover Image Source: Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

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