Building collapsed in Florida: 28 dead, chances of finding survivors “close to zero”

Rescuers from across the United States, Mexico and Israel bustle about the rubble of a collapsed building in Florida eleven days earlier on July 6, 2021 (AFP / Giorgio VIERA)

A body was found in the rubble of the collapsed building in Florida on Monday, bringing the death toll to 28, authorities said, and searches are continuing even though the chances of finding survivors are “close to zero”, according to a manager.

Most of the building, named Champlain Towers South, collapsed in the middle of the night on June 24 in Surfside, causing one of the most serious urban disasters in US history.

With the approach of the storm Elsa and the strong winds that it could bring with it, the authorities had chosen to bring down what remained of the building, considered too unstable.

The controlled destruction took place late Sunday and went “exactly as planned,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine said at a press conference.

“From 1:00 am (05:00 GMT), the research had fully resumed” and it could be carried out in areas previously inaccessible, she added.


Combination of photos showing the demolition of the rest of the partially collapsed building in Surfside, Fla. On July 4, 2021 (AFP / CHANDAN KHANNA)

She later announced that an additional body had been found. A few hours earlier, the bodies of three victims had been discovered.

The toll now stands at 28 dead and 117 missing.

Eleven days after the collapse, the chances of finding survivors are “close to zero”, admitted Golan Vach, an expert who heads one of the Israeli research teams, interviewed by Local 10.

“We try to be optimistic, but also realistic,” he added.

“The circumstances we have seen are too difficult to say, in a professional manner, that we think we have a good chance of finding someone alive,” Vach said.

Only one survivor – a teenager – was extracted from the rubble in the early hours of relief operations. No other survivor was found despite the mobilization of rescuers, who came from all over the United States, and even from Israel and Mexico.

Among those missing were dozens of Latin Americans from Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay.

Rescuers from across the United States, Mexico and Israel bustle about the rubble of a collapsed building in Florida eleven days earlier on July 6, 2021 (AFP / Giorgio VIERA)

Rescuers from across the United States, Mexico and Israel bustle about the rubble of a collapsed building in Florida eleven days earlier on July 6, 2021 (AFP / Giorgio VIERA)

The collapse still remains largely unexplained, although there are questions about the maintenance and structure of the building, construction work nearby and rising waters.

A report as early as 2018 noted “major structural damage” as well as “cracks” in the basement of the building, according to documents released by the town of Surfside.

led/chp/elm/roc

 
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