Monday, October 18

Death toll in Miami building collapse rises to nine


Updated

The fire chief reported that a team of engineers is guiding rescuers in the search for survivors. “We get into any hole,” he detailed

Aerial view of the building that collapsed in Miami.
Aerial view of the building that collapsed in Miami.MARCO BELLOREUTERS
  • Report Collapsed building in Miami had “structural damage”

The number of fatalities in the collapse of an apartment building in Miami-Dade, Florida (USA) increased from five to nine in the last hours, authorities reported this Sunday as rescue efforts continue. “Last night we recovered four additional bodies among the rubble and human remains. Today a victim died in the hospital,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed at a press conference. In this way, the death toll rises to nine, four of them identified, while the number of missing is around 150, without this number having been specified. At the press conference were also the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, and representatives of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA, for its acronym in English). Miami-Dade police released the names of three fatalities of the collapse that occurred in the town of Surfside, near Miami Beach , so that so far there are four of the nine identified dead and more than 150 missing, while rescue work continues this Sunday.

Adding to Stacie Dawn Fang, 54, the first mortal victim to be identified, the names of the deceased released in the last hours are the Hispanics Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79, and Manuel Lafont, 54. The first two were in apartment 903 of the Champlain Towers building at the time of the partial collapse, while Lafont was in 801, the Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD) reported via Twitter.

At the press conference, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said that the main focus remains the search for survivors, and that there will be time to determine what exactly happened. “We are opening a ditch 125 feet long (38 meters) and 40 feet (12 meters) deep. Thanks to this trench we were able to find four victims, one died in the hospital, “said the mayor. She added that” we are trying to identify other recovered bodies. “Regarding the identification work, and in response to a question from the press stating that” they are taking a long time, “the county police chief Alfredo Ramírez, assured that it is a slow and delicate process.” The detectives have to contact the families, “he said.

For his part, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky confirmed that they are not yet thinking about modifying the search phase for survivors. “It is a very difficult situation, the rescue teams have not stopped, any small ray of hope is good, we continue in this rescue operation, we have brought more heavy equipment to remove debris,” said the officer. “We are looking for the same thing above and below, this is a very methodical and slow process, all the material is very compact. If there is an open space in the ruins we enter, We have to give ourselves that opportunity, “Cominsky added.

The fire chief also reported that a team of engineers is guiding rescuers to make sure they are not in danger. “We get into any hole, they are attentive to any sound,” he explained. For its part, the state governor breathed encouragement, both to the families of the victims and to the rescue personnel and he assured that there are sufficient and spare teams of rescuers. “The best in the world are here and these are those from Miami-Dade,” said the governor. Érika Benítez, a spokeswoman for the firefighters, said that approximately 300 rescuers work at the scene in 12-hour shifts. Local televisions continue this Sunday showing aerial images of the immense mountain of concrete rubble assembly and ventilation devices collapsed during the collapse of a part of the building. Since part of the Champlain Towers building, with 136 apartments and on the beachfront in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, collapsed at dawn on Thursday 24, the rescue team has not interrupted the search. In a matter of seconds and for reasons not yet determined, 55 apartments fell apart along with its occupants, who were sleeping at that time. Relatives of the missing persons wait anxiously for news at a nearby hotel in Miami Beach, knowing that as time passes the chances of finding survivors diminish.

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