Why the Miami Beach Area Condo Search Seems to Go Slowly

Amid the perilous search-and-rescue operation at the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla., some have asked ...


Amid the perilous search-and-rescue operation at the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla., some have asked why it has taken so long and whether there is any hope for those left inside.

Officials have assured the public that the local search team, which has been sent to disasters around the world and is now working with teams from Israel and Mexico, was doing everything it could.

The dangers to the rescuers and missing residents are clear and dictate that the process must be slow and deliberate, experts and officials say.

“Inside of there, there is everything from toxic chemicals to fire, smoke, all kinds of other hazards,” Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, who visited the site on Saturday, said on the CBS program “Face the Nation.” “They have to be very careful. If they move one piece of rebar here, the rest of the pile could collapse somewhere else and either hurt the responders or hurt any survivors that might still be down there” he said.

The search continued after a fire that impeded visibility was brought under control.

Experts are using dogs, sonar, cameras and have created trenches to navigate below the pile, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava of Miami-Dade County said on “Face the Nation” on Sunday. One trench is 125 feet long, 20 feet wide and 40 feet deep.

Each building collapse and tragedy presents its own challenges, but experts learn from each one and use information to prevent others.

“It’s a very dangerous site still at this point,” said Joseph Pfeifer, the former chief in charge of counterterrorism and emergency preparedness for the Fire Department of the City of New York, who was the first chief on the scene at the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. “It’s that balance of safety and aggressively searching.”

Timothy McConnell, the former New Orleans fire chief who led the response to the collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel there in 2019, agreed. “It really takes strong-willed, strong-minded, strong-stomached people,” he said of the search-and-rescue teams.

The collapse of the New Orleans building, which was under construction, killed three people and injured dozens more in 2019. The search for survivors took days, and the process of clearing the rubble lasted over a year. The final person’s remains were not recovered until almost a year later.

One of the hardest parts, Mr. McConnell said, was the lack of closure for many families. “That’s hard,” he said.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Why the Miami Beach Area Condo Search Seems to Go Slowly
Why the Miami Beach Area Condo Search Seems to Go Slowly
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