Search for Miami collapse survivors continues with 150 people still missing | Miami condo collapse

Family and friends of the 150 people still missing after a Florida condominium collapsed last week faced a sixth wrenching day of waitin...

Family and friends of the 150 people still missing after a Florida condominium collapsed last week faced a sixth wrenching day of waiting on Tuesday, as search and rescue crews continued to sift through the mangled remains of Champlain Towers South.

The search for survivors in the Miami suburb of Surfside went on without much cause for hope. None have been rescued since Thursday and two more bodies were recovered on Monday, putting the death toll at 11.

“We have people waiting and waiting and waiting for news,” the Miami-Dade mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, told reporters.

“We have them coping with the news that they might not have their loved ones come out alive and still hope against hope that they will. They’re learning that some of their loved ones will come out as body parts. This is the kind of information that is just excruciating for everyone.”

Officials and experienced rescuers have urged people to remain hopeful and emphasized it is still a rescue operation. Families of the missing have been invited to the site to observe and Levine Cava said authorities have been in detailed contact with them.

“Some are feeling more hopeful, some less hopeful, because we do not have definitive answers,” she said. “We give them the facts. We take them to the site.”

The White House announced on Tuesday that Joe and Jill Biden would visit Surfside on Thursday.

Late on 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 her son, Luis Bermúdez, 26, also died in the collapse.

The community held a vigil and created memorials on the beach and along fences surrounding the collapsed tower. The fences are decorated with photos, flowers and handmade signs. Rescuers have also been leaving objects such as photos and toys they find in the debris at the memorial.

Elite rescue teams are assisting with the search, including the famed Topos, a volunteer group formed in response to Mexico City’s 1985 earthquake, and members of the Israel Defense Forces.

Such efforts have been complicated by weather conditions, including heavy rain on Monday.

This is a frustration for family members of the missing, the mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, said at a press briefing on Tuesday. He and other officials spoke with relatives at a meeting Tuesday morning, he said.

“There was frustration, there was a little anger, there were some questions about why the work has to stop when there is thunderstorms and lightning.”

The mayor said officials were unable to provide a firm answer for families who asked how long people can survive such a situation.

“Nobody is giving up here. No one is stopping,” Burkett said.

The search and rescue process is necessarily slow and deliberate: crews must balance the urgency of rescue with the chance that abrupt moves could collapse voids in the debris that may be shielding survivors.

“Every time there’s an action, there’s a reaction,” Miami-Dade assistant fire chief Raide Jadallah said on Monday. “It’s not an issue of we could just attach a couple of cords to a concrete boulder and lift it and call it a day.”

Rescuers are using heavy machinery to move larger pieces of concrete.

Speculation is mounting over previous inspections reports and warnings issued about the building, but it will likely take months to determine why a portion of the tower fell suddenly around 1.30am last Thursday.

A pool contractor who visited the building 36 hours before the collapse told the Miami-Herald he saw unusual levels of standing water in the garage.

The contractor, who asked not to be named, told the paper the deepest puddle he saw was near an area of the building a 2018 inspection report identified as having a “major error” in its original design.

The 2018 report did not indicate the structure was at risk of collapse, but recommended that “concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion”.

The president of the Champlain Towers South condo association urged residents to back a $15m repair to the building in an April letter shared by the Wall Street Journal.

In the letter, the president of the association, Jean Wodnicki, said issues identified in the 2018 inspection could have gotten worse.

“That estimate indicated that the concrete damage observed would begin to multiply exponentially over the years, and indeed the observable damage such as in the garage has gotten significantly worse since the initial inspection,” Wodnicki wrote.

Federal, state and local agencies have been deployed to the scene and Biden said on Monday he supports an extensive investigation.

White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: “We want to play any constructive role we can play with federal resources in getting to the bottom of it and preventing it from happening in the future.”

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Newsrust - US Top News: Search for Miami collapse survivors continues with 150 people still missing | Miami condo collapse
Search for Miami collapse survivors continues with 150 people still missing | Miami condo collapse
Newsrust - US Top News
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