EVA MARIE UZCATEGUI/AFP via Getty Images
- Two more bodies were found in the rubble of the collapsed Miami building, bringing the death toll to 20.
- Among the two bodies found was a 7-year-old child.
- 128 people are still missing.
After search and rescue personnel found two other bodies, the death toll from the collapse of an apartment in Florida last week rose to 20 people on Friday, including the 7-year-old daughter of a firefighter in Miami.
Due to security issues, the grim and painstaking search for victims in the rubble was suspended for most of the time on Thursday, and a more cautious and closely watched hurricane that could hit Florida within a few days was carried out on Friday.
As the search continued to the ninth day, 128 people were still missing, worried about being buried under tons of powdered concrete, twisted metal, and shattered wood.
The number of missing persons fell by 17 from Thursday’s figure.
The Mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, said at a press conference that the total is unstable, partly because investigators sometimes learn about other things when determining whether missing residents are safe. family member.
This little girl is the third child found from the collapse of Surfside, a small coastal town next to Miami Beach.
The Mayor of Miami, Francis Suarez, confirmed to the Miami Herald that an unidentified firefighter was recovering the scene, but he was not one of the workers digging in the rubble.
According to reports, the firefighter and his brother, also a firefighter, had been on the scene to watch the night since last week until the girl was found.
The Herald quoted an unnamed source as saying that when her body was taken away, about 200 police officers saluted her.
Officials said that this discovery was particularly exciting for many first responders, who are trying harder to find survivors around the clock than ever before, although the possibility is increasing every day.
“Every victim we remove is very difficult,” said Alan Kominski, chief of the Miami-Dade County Fire Department.
It was worse last night, when we were evacuating the daughter of a fireman. As firefighters, we do what we should do-this is a calling. But there is still a price to pay.
No one has been rescued from the rubble since the first few hours after the 12-story Champlain Tanan apartment partially collapsed while the residents were sleeping in the early morning of June 24.
Authorities stopped rescue and recovery efforts earlier on Thursday because they discovered that there was a movement that triggered fears that part of the tall building that was still standing might collapse on search personnel in the debris area.
Kominsky told reporters on Thursday night that despite a new set of precautions, the operation restarted after about 15 hours after it was deemed safe.
Kominsky said that under the new search plan, the team will now limit their work to three of the nine grids delineated in the ruins.
At some point, the rest of the building will be demolished, but Levenkava said on Friday that it will “take some time.”
Authorities are eager to make as much progress as possible before the expected arrival of Elsa, which was strengthened into the first hurricane of the 2021 season on Friday due to threats to the Caribbean.
Robert Moleda, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, told reporters that the storm may approach South Florida on Monday or Tuesday, and that tropical storm-strength winds will arrive as early as Sunday. But he warned that Elsa’s predicted path is still uncertain.
Shortly after U.S. President Joe Biden visited the scene on Thursday, the new search began. He spent about three hours comforting the families of the dead and missing.
Investigators have not yet determined what caused this 40-year-old apartment building to collapse into a pile in the deadliest building collapse in American history.
However, a 2018 engineering report prepared by an engineering company before the building safety recertification process found structural defects in the apartment building, which are now the focus of various investigations, including grand jury inspections.
USA Today quoted a document obtained by the newspaper from the family of a missing victim. On Thursday evening, it reported that a 2020 document from the same company, after testing the depth of the concrete slab under the pool, stated that it was “strange” result”. But according to the report, the document did not specify what this means.
As recently as April, the chairman of the apartment association warned residents in a letter that engineers found that the main concrete damage around the bottom of the building had “severely deteriorated”.
Several lawsuits have been filed against the board of directors of the association on behalf of survivors and victims.
In a statement on Friday, the board of directors-some of its members are still missing-said it would appoint an “independent receiver…to oversee the law and the claims process.”
The board added that it will continue to work with investigators to understand the cause of the tragedy.