Monday, June 28, 2021
Families of the missing visited the scene of the Florida condo building collapse as rescuers kept digging through the mound of rubble and clinging to hope that someone could yet be alive somewhere under the broken concrete and twisted metal.
On Sunday, the death toll rose by four, to a total of nine confirmed dead, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced.
But after almost four full days of search-and-rescue efforts, more than 150 additional people are still missing.
No one has been pulled alive from the pile since Thursday, hours after the collapse.
The outlook grew more and more grim by the hour, however, as the slow rescue operation, involving workers sorting nonstop through the rubble in torrid heat and high humidity, carried on.
"We were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble... So I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters in Surfside, near Miami Beach, adding that one victim had died in hospital. "We've identified four of the victims and notified next of kin."
"We are making every effort to identify those others who have been recovered," she said in a morning briefing.
Six to eight squads, backed by two huge cranes and aided by sniffer dogs, are "on the pile actually searching at any given time," she added.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said debris with "forensic value" is being taken to a large warehouse to be inspected as investigators seek to determine the cause of the collapse.
And Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said accommodation was being found for anyone wishing to evacuate the tower's nearly identical "sister" building a block away, though no structural problems have yet been identified there.
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