Family and friends of the 150 people still missing after a Florida condo collapse last week faced a harrowing sixth day of waiting Tuesday as search and rescue teams continued to examine the shattered remains of Champlain South Towers. .
The search for survivors in the Miami suburb of Surfside continued without much hope. None have been rescued from the rubble since Thursday and two more bodies were recovered Monday, bringing the confirmed death toll to 11.
“We have people waiting and waiting for news,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters.
“We have them grappling with the news that their loved ones may not make it out alive and they still hope against hope that they will. They are learning that some of their loved ones will become body parts. This is the kind of information that is unbearable for everyone. “
Officials and seasoned rescuers have urged people to remain hopeful, emphasizing that it is still a rescue operation.
The families of the missing have been invited to the rescue site to observe and Levine Cava said authorities have been in frequent and detailed contact with them.
“Some feel more hopeful, others less hopeful, because we don’t have definitive answers,” he said. “We give them the facts. We take them to the site. “
Late Monday, officials identified three more victims: Marcus Joseph Guara, 52, Michael David Altman, 50, and Frank Kleiman, 55. Kleiman’s wife, Ana Ortiz, 46, and their son, Luis Bermúdez, 26, also died in the collapse.
The community held a vigil Monday night and created monuments on the beach and along the fences surrounding the collapsed tower. The fences are decorated with photos, flowers and handmade posters. Rescue teams have also left items such as photos and toys found among the rubble of the monument.
Elite rescue teams are assisting with the search, including the famous moles, a group of volunteers formed in response to the 1985 Mexico City earthquake, and members of the Israel Defense Forces.
Such efforts have been complicated by weather conditions, including heavy rains on Monday.
The search and rescue process is necessarily slow and deliberate: crews must balance the urgency of rescue with the possibility of abrupt movements collapsing gaps in the rubble that may be protecting survivors.
“Every time there is an action, there is a reaction,” Miami-Dade Deputy Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said Monday. “It is not that we can connect a couple of cables to a concrete rock, lift it up and finish.”
Rescuers are using heavy machinery to move larger concrete pieces.
Speculation is mounting about reports of flooding in the basement parking lot, but it will likely take months to determine why part of the tower suddenly fell down around 1.30am last Thursday.
A swimming pool contractor who visited the building 36 hours before the collapse said the Miami-Herald saw unusual levels of standing water in the garage.
The contractor, who asked not to be named, told the newspaper that the deepest puddle he saw was near an area of the building that a 2018 inspection report identified as a “major error” in its original design.
The 2018 report did not indicate that the structure was at risk of collapse, but recommended that “deterioration of the concrete should be repaired in a timely manner.”
Federal, state and local agencies have been deployed to the scene and Joe Biden said Monday he supports a comprehensive investigation.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said: “We want to play whatever constructive role we can play with federal resources to get to the bottom and prevent it from happening in the future.”
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism