SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) – The search for victims of the Miami-area condominium collapse reached its 14th day on Wednesday, with a death toll of three dozen, more than 100 people still missing and the authorities sounding more and more sinister.
Crews dug in sprayed concrete on Tuesday where the Champlain Towers South building once stood in Surfside, filling buckets that had passed along a line to be emptied and then returned.
The close examination of the research, compliments of the video released by the Miami-Dade County Fire Department, came as eight more deaths were announced – the most for a single day since the research began . It also came as rain and wind from Tropical Storm Elsa disrupted the effort, even though the storm was on track. to make landfall far across the state.
Researchers found no new signs of survivors, and although authorities said their mission was still focused on finding living people, they looked darker and darker.
“At the moment, we are in search and rescue mode,” County Police Director Freddy Ramirez said at a press conference Tuesday night. He quickly added, “Our main goal right now is to end families. “
No one has been rescued from the site for the first few hours after the building collapsed on June 24, when many of its residents were asleep.
Researchers were still looking for open spaces in the rubble mounds where other survivors could be found, County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said.
“Unfortunately, we don’t see anything positive,” he said.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said families of the missing were bracing for news of a “tragic loss.” She said President Joe Biden, who visited the region last week, called on Tuesday to offer his continued support.
“I think everyone will be ready when it’s time to move on to the next phase,” she said.
Journalists got their in-person glimpse of the site on Tuesday, though it was limited to the part of the building that workers demolished on Sunday after the initial collapse left it standing but dangerously unstable. A pile of broken concrete and twisted steel was about 30 feet high and spanned about half the length of a football field. A pair of backhoes removed the rubble from the pile, blocking any view of the search effort.
Elsa’s bad weather hampered research efforts to some extent. Lightning forced rescuers to suspend work for two hours early on Tuesday, Deputy Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said. And winds of 20 mph (32 km / h), with stronger gusts, hampered efforts to move heavy debris with cranes, officials said.
However, the storm’s more severe winds and rains would bypass Surfside and neighboring Miami as Elsa weakened along her way to a planned landing somewhere between Tampa Bay and Big Bend in Florida.
Teams removed 124 tonnes (112 metric tonnes) of debris from the site, Cominsky said. The debris was being sorted and stored in a warehouse as potential evidence in the investigation into why the building collapsed, officials said.
Workers have been released to search a larger area since the remaining unstable part of the building was demolished.