Thursday, May 19

Identify 3 children in a collapsed building in Miami; there are 90 dead

(CNN) — As operations at the Surfside collapse site continue, in its third week, authorities identified three of the youngest victims, ages 5, 6 and 9, who are among the total of 90 deaths recorded as of Sunday.

The tragic news came after authorities announced that they had identified a total of 71 victims and notified their families.

A total of 217 people have been counted as alive after the collapse and 31 people are still potentially missing, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during a daily press conference.

Building collapse in Miami leaves 90 dead 1:07

Video of the Champlain Towers South collapse site taken Sunday night showed crews still digging through the rubble, with floodlights lighting their way.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said teams have found personal items, such as rings, in the rubble that they are cataloging to return to family members.

Search and rescue teams’ efforts have been applauded by community members awaiting news of the collapse.

On Saturday evening, members of the local clergy, elected officials, first responders and families of the victims and survivors along with members of Hatzalah, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) and the Israeli Consulate gathered for a commemorative ceremony and walk. to thank rescuers for their efforts.

Members of the IDF, who have been on the scene assisting with collapse recovery efforts, received a farewell tribute during the walk.

Crews have been working around the clock since the collapse on June 24 to recover the victims, stopping only due to safety concerns such as an unstable pile of debris, dangerous storm winds and lightning.

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Those efforts offered closure to Pablo Rodríguez, who said he is relieved to learn what happened to his mother and grandmother weeks after they disappeared in the collapse.

“Last night was (the) first night since this nightmare began that I was able to get some sleep,” Rodríguez said in a tweet on Saturday, after authorities identified Elena Chávez, 87, and Elena Blasser, 64, as two of the victims.

“The idea that they suffered weighed heavily on me and the confirmation that they did not was a ‘relief’,” he said. “It was the best bad news I could get in this situation. The only hope I had.”

The difficulty facing the operation in Miami 1:12

The youngest victims

Authorities identified three of the youngest victims on Sunday, including 5-year-old Lorenzo De Oliveira Leone.

Anna Sophia Pettengill Lopez Moreira, 6, and her sister Alexia Maria Pettengill Lopez Moreira, 9, were recovered on July 7 and publicly identified on Sunday. The girls were the last two members of their family to be identified.

His brother, Luis Vicente Pettengill López Moreira III, 3, the youngest victim of the collapse, was recovered on July 7 and identified on Friday.

Sophia López Moreira, the children’s mother, was the sister of the first lady of Paraguay and lived with her husband, three children and her nanny on the tenth floor of Torres Champlain Sur.

She and her husband Luis Pettengill, 36, along with the family’s nanny, Leidy Vanessa Luna Villalba, 23, were identified in an earlier statement.

Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez arrived in the United States on Friday after learning that his wife’s family had died in the landslide.

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“I regret and sadly have to report the discovery of the lifeless bodies of Sophia López Moreira, Luis Pettengil and the youngest of their children,” Paraguayan Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo told Paraguayan television channel Telefuturo last week.

In recent weeks, four other children ages 4 to 11 have been identified, including sisters Emma Guara, 4, and Lucia Guara, 11 who were buried in the same coffin last week. They were recovered and identified on June 30.

What’s next for body recovery in Miami? 2:34

Concerns for the safety of other buildings

While the collapse has prompted building inspections across the county, concerns about the collapse’s sister building Champlain Towers South have been allayed by recent inspections.

Burkett said inspections of Champlain Towers North, where a voluntary evacuation was issued after the collapse, have yielded positive results so far.

“The first results in concrete are that the strength of the concrete is very good,” Burkett said Sunday. “At or beyond the levels it should be at.”

In the days immediately following the collapse, the county and nearby towns began asking building owners to inspect their buildings and submit recertifications for buildings of a certain height and age.

The push has already resulted in the evacuation of a North Miami Beach condo building and the closure of a 1920s courthouse in downtown Miami.

CNN’s Natasha Chen, Kevin Conlon, Deanna Hackney, and CNNe’s Sanie López Garelli and Marlon Sorto contributed to this report.

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