The number of victims of the collapse of a 12-story apartment building in Surfside, in Miami-Dade (Florida, USA), rose to twelve this Tuesday with the discovery of another body in the last hours, while the number of missing dropped to 149.
In the first press conference of the day, the mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, said that Monday’s figures had not changed compared to Monday to the despair of the families and friends of the disappeared, but in the afternoon she reported a new confirmed fatality.
The mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, said this Tuesday he has felt “frustration” and “anger” among relatives who hope that the miracle of finding their loved ones will take place, due to the scarce search results despite the great deployment. of human and material resources.
The mayor of Miami-Dade and the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, in an appearance before the press with those responsible for the search operation, made an effort to emphasize that the rescue groups are doing everything they can, “breaking the back “, in the words of the second, to find victims in the rubble.
Levine Cava said that this Tuesday morning there were 210 people working at the disaster site who will be relieved at the end of their 12-hour shift for as many.
In total, there are more than 800 people assigned to the operation, with different tasks, according to what was said at the press conference. In the afternoon, it was mentioned that the eight teams currently taking turns will be joined by one more.
“They are enough and we have the best in the world,” said Levine Cava in the morning, who welcomed the announcement by US President Joe Biden that he plans to visit the site of the collapse on Thursday.
Structural problems in the building
That same day but last week, at 1.30 in the morning, 55 apartments of the 136 that the Champlain Towers South building had , with 40 years old, collapsed for reasons not yet determined but already under investigation.
From various sources and documents it is known that at least since 2018 there was information that the building had structural problems.
In April 2021, the president of the building’s community reported that the deterioration of the reinforced concrete already detected by an engineering firm three years ago was progressing significantly, according to local media indicated on Tuesday.
The mayor of Miami-Dade said Tuesday that the South Florida District Attorney wants a grand jury to investigate the tragedy and supported the initiative.
This information, plus the limited results of the search for victims, feed the frustration of the relatives of the disappeared, who until this Monday were 150.
According to the mayor, the list is not “definitive” and information is being sought with the consulates of various countries to make it more precise.
He also indicated that the victims confirmed so far have already been identified. Among the disappeared there are people from countries such as Israel, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Also among the deceased there are foreigners.
24 hour search
Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky stressed the difficulty and risk of search work and the great effort made by workers, including teams from other US states and Mexico and Israel.
According to him, the mountain of rubble has been being reviewed “layer by layer” without rest for six days.
In total, 1.3 million kilos of rubble has been removed with the help of heavy machinery .
In these six days the rescue work was hampered by a fire that broke out in the lower part of the pile of rubble and generated thick and potentially toxic smoke, as well as by rains and storms with electrical equipment.
According to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, another concern for workers is that rubble is beginning to fall from the part of the damaged building that is still standing.
“Overnight some things fell out of the building that is still standing. And that is going to have to be addressed. I understand from my discussions over the last few days that they will have to remove those pieces to make it safe for the workers to come down. there, “Burkett told the media before the press conference.
To control the fire, a large firebreak had to be built in the middle of the mountain, which has also allowed the rescuers to reach areas and angles that they could not reach before.
Only on the first day were people found alive in the rubble, but the leaders of the rescuers and the authorities repeat that it is still possible to find survivors, as has happened in other tragedies.