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US 6 more victims of Champlain Towers condo collapse identified as recovery nears end

04:06  16 july  2021
04:06  16 july  2021 Source:   miamiherald.com

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a group of people standing in front of a store: Volunteers, along with locals, replace dead flowers with fresh ones prior to the Guara Family's burial service blocks away from the memorial site, at St. Joseph Catholic Church on the 13th day since the collapse of Champlain Tower East on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. © Carl Juste/Miami Herald/TNS Volunteers, along with locals, replace dead flowers with fresh ones prior to the Guara Family's burial service blocks away from the memorial site, at St. Joseph Catholic Church on the 13th day since the collapse of Champlain Tower East on Tuesday, July 6, 2021, in Surfside, Florida.

The recovery effort at Champlain Towers South may be coming to a close, three weeks to the day after the building collapsed.

Miami-Dade Police identified six more victims Thursday. The death toll now stands at 97, with 92 bodies identified, said Alvaro Zabaleta, a spokesperson for Miami-Dade Police.

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Zabaleta said the department only had 97 open missing persons reports, although he cautioned it didn’t mean the recovery effort was over.

“The numbers line up but that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re done. We don’t know. That’s why we can’t claim victory yet. On an incident like this it is very rare to get 100%,” he said. “Until we pick up every piece of rubble and clear it, we can’t say we’re done.”

The police department’s tally differs slightly from a statement released Wednesday evening by Miami-Dade County, which said that 90 bodies of the 97 recovered had been identified and that there were 8 outstanding missing persons reports. The county did not immediately clarify the disparity in the numbers.

Zabaleta said the recovery effort isn’t officially concluded yet and he wasn’t sure when it would be.

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  Report found Surfside condo association was deeply underfunded as repair bills piled up An independent budget review warned the Champlain Towers South condo association that its financial reserves were critically underfunded in the face of urgently needed structural repairs a little over a year before the building collapsed, a document obtained by CNN shows. The condo association only had 6.9% of the recommended level of money to complete repair and replacement projects and stay financially secure, according to a March 2020 report from Association Reserves, a company that analyzes housing association finances.

“We really haven’t put a timeline to it, but we know we’re making progress. At this point it’s still a 24-hour process,” he said. “We’re just going to continue until we’re done, done.”

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Thursday that with five people still unaccounted for, it’s increasingly difficult to identify the human remains recovered from the collapse.

“What’s left of those victims gets smaller and smaller, and it’s just more difficult to finalize that,” he said.

He said search crews continue using dogs to look for any human remains still left in the rubble, but cracks in the foundation have allowed water to seep into the search area, further complicating the efforts.


Video: Champlain Towers residents worried after building collapse (Daily Mail)

“I’m convinced that everything humanly possible has been done to pull everybody out,” Burkett said. “It is in God’s hands now.”

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  Death toll rises to 79 as more scientists examine cause of Surfside condo collapse Death toll rises to 79 as more scientists examine cause of Surfside condo collapseAs excavators turned over heaps of broken cement and twisted steel, smaller backhoes combed through the pile — no longer in search of survivors but victims, 14 more of whom were found in the rubble overnight Thursday and one additional body recovered Friday, emergency managers said.

Ike Hedaya, whose sister Estelle Hedaya is still unaccounted for in the collapse, said authorities believe they have recovered everyone from the rubble. He said families, including his own, are waiting for the medical examiner to identify the remaining victims killed in the collapse.

“The medical examiner has everyone, and they’re working diligently to try to match the DNA ...” he said. “Hopefully we get an answer soon.”

He said he was thankful for the work search teams have done to reunite families with their loved ones.

“We know it’s not anyone’s fault, everyone’s doing everything they can,” he said.

There are at least five more bodies to be identified, a process that relies on DNA matching. Six new victims were identified Thursday, including Miguel Leonardo Kaufman, 65, Maria Notkin, 81, Michelle Anna Pazos, 23 and Mihai Radulescu, 82, who were recovered on Friday. Rosa Saez, 70, was recovered Saturday. Valeria Barth, 14, was recovered Sunday.

Barth and her parents, Luis Fernando and Catalina, traveled to Surfside from Colombia to see family and get vaccinated against COVID-19. Notkin, a retired paralegal and banker, lived in Unit 302 with her husband, a retired physical education teacher in Miami Beach.

'Heartbreaking': Death toll in Florida condo collapse now 79

  'Heartbreaking': Death toll in Florida condo collapse now 79 SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — The death toll in the collapse of a Miami-area condo building rose to 79 on Friday, a number the mayor called “heartbreaking” as recovery workers toiled for a 16th day to find victims in the rubble. Another 61 people remain unaccounted for. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the work to recover victims was “moving forward with great urgency” in order to bring closure to the families of victims who have spent an agonizing two weeks waiting for news. “This is a staggering and heartbreaking number that affects all of us very deeply,” Levine Cava said of the latest death toll. “All those who have passed ... are leaving behind loved ones.

As the recovery period draws to a close, the forensic analysis of what caused the collapse can kick into gear. But outside engineers, including Surfside’s newly hired structural engineer Allyn Kilsheimer, said they’ve been blocked from beginning their investigation.

Kilsheimer said he’s been allowed to walk around the outside of the site but hasn’t been allowed to do any of the usual testing on the actual pile of rubble, like sonic testing or ground-penetrating radar. He said he’s been told Miami-Dade police may continue their investigation for at least a month before he’s allowed on site.

“It’s slowing us down, and we’re having to do things out of order. I understand they have to do their job,” he said.

Surfside Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer said the city wants to know what went wrong as soon as possible so it can start coming up with solutions. She noted that the city’s consultant, Kilsheimer, has decades of experience, including investigating the 9/11 attacks.

“If it was good enough for the Pentagon, it should be good enough for the county. Let the guy in. Let him get his samples,” she said. “I’d like to hear a good reason. Why can’t he have access to the site?”

In response to the complaints, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a statement reminding engineers and attorneys that law enforcement is in charge of the scene because it’s an active investigation.

“It is my understanding that once NIST [National Institute of Standards and Technology], the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade Police Departments determine that it is safe and appropriate for others to gain access to the site, they will be permitted to do so under guidelines set forth by those agencies,” she wrote.

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After Surfside tower collapse, condo residents beyond Florida wonder if they need to worry .
Residents of the tens of millions condo buildings in the US -- particularly on the coast -- have been feeling anxious and unnerved since the deadly Champlain Towers North collapse last month.Salomon Gold expects to celebrate his 90th birthday next month in his Champlain Towers North condo in Florida, where for decades he has enjoyed views of the turquoise blue waves of the Atlantic lapping on Surfside Beach.

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This is interesting!