The number of victims of the collapse of a 12-story apartment building in Surfside, Miami-Dade (Florida, USA), rose to twelve this Tuesday with the discovery of another body in the last hours, while the number of missing persons dropped to 149.
At the first press conference of the day, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that Monday’s figures had not changed from Monday to despair of family and friends of the missing, but in the afternoon reported a new confirmed fatality.
The mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, said this Tuesday he has felt “frustration” and “anger” among relatives who hope that the miracle of finding their loved ones will take place, for the poor search results despite huge display of human and material resources.
The mayor of Miami-Dade and the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, in an appearance before the press with those responsible for the search operation, made an effort to highlight that the rescue groups they’re doing all they can, “breaking their backs” in the words of the second, to find victims in the rubble.
Levine Cava said that this Tuesday morning there was 210 people working at the disaster site who will be relieved at the end of their 12-hour shift for as many.
In total, there are more than 800 people assigned to the operation, with different tasks, according to what was said at the press conference. In the afternoon, it was mentioned that the eight teams currently taking turns will be joined by one more.
“They are enough and we have the best of the world”, Levine Cava had said in the morning, who welcomed the announcement by the president of the United States, Joe Biden, that he thinks visit the site of the collapse on Thursday.
Structural problems in the building
That same day but last week, at 1.30 in the morning 55 apartments of the 136 that the building had Champlain Towers South, 40 years old, collapsed for reasons not yet determined but now under investigation.
From various sources and documents it is known that at least since 2018 there was information that the building had structural problems.
In April 2021, the president of the building’s community reported that the deterioration of reinforced concrete Already detected by an engineering firm three years ago, it was making significant progress, according to local media.
The Miami-Dade Mayor said Tuesday that the South Florida Attorney General’s Office wants a grand jury investigates the tragedy and gave his support to the initiative.
This information, plus the few results of the search for victims, feed the family frustration of the disappeared, who until this Monday were 150.
According to the mayor, the list is not “definitive” and an attempt is being made to collect information with consulates from various countries to make it more accurate.
He also indicated that so far confirmed victims have already been identified. Among the disappeared are people from countries such as Israel, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Also among the deceased there are foreigners.
24 hour search
Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky emphasized the difficulty and risk of the job of search and in the great effort made by the workers, among which there are teams from other US states and from Mexico and Israel.
As he said, it is being reviewed “layer by layer” from the mountain of rubble without rest for six days.
In total it has been removed with the help of heavy machinery 1.3 million kilos of rubble.
In these six days the rescue work was hampered by a fire that broke out in the lower part of the rubble pile and generated thick and potentially toxic smoke, in addition to rains and storms with electrical equipment.
According to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, another concern for workers is that they are rubble starting to fall of the part of the damaged building that is still standing.
“Overnight some things fell from the building that is still standing. And that is going to have to be addressed. I understand from my discussions of the last days that they will have to remove those pieces to make it safe for the workers to go down there, “Burkett told the media before the press conference.
To control the fire it was necessary to make a big firebreak in the middle of the mountain, which has also allowed rescuers to reach areas and angles that they could not reach before.
Only on the first day were people found alive in the rubble, but the leaders of the rescuers and the authorities repeat that survivors can still be found, as has happened in other tragedies.