Surfside building collapse latest: 9 dead, 152 unaccounted for as search and rescue enters 5th day

Surfside building collapse latest: 9 dead, 152 unaccounted for as search and rescue enters 5th day

A massive search and rescue operation entered its fifth day Monday, as crews continued to carefully comb through the pancaked pile of debris in hopes of finding survivors. The partial collapse occurred at around 1:15 a.m. local time on Thursday at the Champlain Towers South condominium in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach. Approximately 55 of the oceanfront complex’s 136 units were destroyed, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah.

So far, 134 people who were living or staying in the condominium at the time of the partial collapse have been accounted for, according to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who noted that the numbers are very fluid.

‘A frantic search’

The remaining structure that still stands was cleared by rescue crews last week and all resources have since shifted focus to on the debris, according to Jadallah. Hundreds of first responders and volunteers have been working around the clock to locate both survivors and human remains in the rubble. Crews have cut a 125-foot long, 20-foot wide and 40-foot deep trench through the pile to help enhance their search, according to Levine Cava.

More than 80 rescuers are working on the pile at a time, trying to tunnel through and locate voids where people could be trapped. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Andy Alvarez, the deputy incident commander overseeing search and rescue efforts, described the process as both frantic and painstaking.

“This is a frantic search to continue to see that hope, that miracle, to see who we can bring out of this building alive,” Alvarez told ABC News in an interview Monday on “Good Morning America.”

The conditions on the pile are “bad” and “not ideal” for rescuers, Alvarez said, due to heat, humidity and rain. But search and rescue efforts are still continuing 24-hours a day.

“We’re holding up because we’re all holding up for that hope, that faith that we are going to be able to rescue somebody,” he added. “We are working tirelessly to try to bring victims that are underneath that rubble and rescue them.”

Crews are using various equipment and technology, including underground sonar systems that can detect victims and crane trucks that can remove huge slabs of concrete from the pile, according to Alavarez.

Read from source

Share This