Thursday, December 2

Miami condo death toll rises to 36 as families of the missing brace for a ‘tragic loss’ | Miami condo collapse

Families of the more than 100 people still missing in the South Florida condo collapse are bracing for the news of a “tragic loss,” said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

The search for victims in the dangerous pile of rubble of a high-rise condominium in the Miami area reached its 14th day on Wednesday, with the official death toll at 36, after eight more bodies were recovered Tuesday, the largest quantity in a single day. since the catastrophe.

Joe Biden, who visited the area last week, called the mayor on Tuesday to offer his continued support, as authorities have been taking an increasingly somber tone about any chance of finding someone miraculously alive in the rubble.

“I think everyone will be ready when it’s time to move on to the next phase,” he said.

Several hundred mourners gathered at a Miami Beach church Tuesday for the first funeral for the victims of the June 24 collapse.

Marcus Guara, 52, his wife Ana Guara, 42, and their daughters, Lucia, 10, and Emma, ​​four, were remembered as a close-knit family who loved to walk on the beach and spend time. together.

All four were killed when half of the 12-story Champlain Towers South building abruptly collapsed in the early hours of the morning while most of the residents slept.

“Who would have thought a few weeks ago that our community had so many ties to a little building in a little corner of Florida called Surfside,” Marcus Guara’s cousin Peter Milián said during a family eulogy.

The search for more casualties continues despite the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to turn into a hurricane before making landfall on Florida’s northern Gulf Coast later Wednesday.

Forecasters said Surfside will likely save itself from the worst of the storm, but their approach prompted local officials to demolish a still-standing section of the building Sunday night out of concerns that high winds could knock it down.

Lightning brought by Elsa forced search and rescue teams to halt their operation for a time on Tuesday. Authorities said their task could be interrupted again before the storm passes, as crews working around the clock search the precarious pile of debris with a variety of methods ranging from heavy lifting equipment to manual debris sorting. in cubes.

Searchers have found no new signs of survivors, and while authorities said their mission was still geared towards finding people alive, they sounded increasingly bleak.

“Right now, we are in search and rescue mode,” County Police Director Freddy Ramirez said at a news conference Tuesday night.

He added: “Our main goal right now is to bring closure to families.”

Meanwhile, Florida officials have said they have “significant concerns” regarding the structural integrity of another condo near the Champlain Towers South building, which collapsed nearly two weeks ago, killing at least 36 people.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Tuesday a review is underway at Champlain Towers North, the sister complex to the 12-story condo tower, which is still near the rubble.

Burkett told reporters that Towers North is “essentially the same building, built by the same developer at the same time, with the same blueprints, probably the same materials” as the Towers South building.

“And since we don’t know why the first building collapsed, we have great concerns about that building and the residents there,” he said.

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