US 2 more victims identified as Surfside recovery wanes, investigation develops
8 more dead pulled from rubble of collapsed Florida condo
The search for victims of the collapse of a Miami-area high-rise condominium reached its 14th day on Wednesday, with the death toll at three dozen, more than 100 people still unaccounted for and authorities sounding more and more grim. SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — The search for victims of the collapse of a Miami-area high-rise condominium reached its 14th day on Wednesday, with the death toll at three dozen, more than 100 people still unaccounted for and authorities sounding more and more grim.
SURFSIDE, Fla. — The three-week-long search for victims in the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside has become “increasingly difficult” as the recovery workers continue to search the rubble.
The once-buzzing site has grown quieter. The trailers from out-of-state agencies that once camped on Collins Avenue and the nearby parks and side streets have begun to leave. The media tent where several dozen reporters from around the country squeezed in with their camera crews is mostly empty, as twice-daily briefings that were reduced to once-daily briefings have been further reduced to a news release.
6 more bodies found, bringing death toll to 60 as somber search at Surfside condo collapse site rolls on; 80 still unaccounted for
Two weeks after a massive, condominium building crashed to the ground, workers dug through rubble knowing hope of finding survivors had slipped away.The death toll rose to 60 with the discovery of six more bodies, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced Thursday morning. She said 35 had been identified.
At the makeshift memorial on Harding Avenue, passersby have continued to stop and reflect, sometimes leaving a note or a bouquet of flowers. On Friday, some leftover prayer candles were still burning from a multi-faith community vigil Thursday night, which drew dozens to mourn those lost in the tragic collapse.
On the site, bulldozers and cranes continue to lift massive chunks of metal, concrete and other debris, organizing them into towering piles of the last remnants of the 12-story oceanside condo.
Collins Avenue between 83rd and 90th streets is still closed, but diverted traffic on nearby Harding Avenue has eased.
“Day by day,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told a Miami Herald reporter as he visited the makeshift memorial. “We go day by day.”
Death toll following Surfside condo collapse reaches 64
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava (D) said Thursday evening that the number of people confirmed dead following the Surfside condo collapse stands at 64 after four additional victims were found.Earlier on Thursday, Cava had said the number of confirmed deaths stood at 60 people.The number of people unaccounted for now stands at 76, down from more than 150 last week.Cava said some of the families who had lost members in the collapse were able to visit the site Thursday at their request. Video: Death toll in Surfside condo building collapse rises to 64 (CBS News) Your browser does not support this video "We held a moment of silence with our first responders.
The Miami-Dade Police Department identified two more victims Friday: Maria Popa, 79, who was pulled from the rubble July 9, and Brad Cohen, 51, who was recovered July 7.
Popa’s husband, 82-year-old Mihai Radulescu, was identified Thursday. The couple owned Unit 404.
Cohen, an orthopedic surgeon, was hosting his older brother in his 11th-floor condo. Gary Cohen, who was visiting from Alabama, was identified July 8. Brad Cohen’s wife, Soraya, was staying at a different apartment building in Miami Beach with their 12-year-old daughter on the night that the condo tower collapsed.
The death toll now stands at 94 bodies identified, and next of kin for each of those victims notified. There are 97 missing persons reports opened with the Miami-Dade County Police Department, and 241 people have been accounted for.
The system for reporting the numbers has changed slightly, with the death toll now only including those who have been identified. The method is meant to give the most accurate numbers and was put in place “out of respect for the families who are still waiting,” a Miami-Dade County news release said.
Searching for clues in the rubble at Surfside
Allyn Kilsheimer, Surfside city's hired investigator, has been collecting evidence about the fallen condo and its design and maintenance in search of clues that could identify who, if anyone, should be held accountable for its collapse. The overlapping probes -- involving homicide detectives, local prosecutors and government engineers -- could take years to complete; and, any desire by survivors of the collapse or victims' families for a criminal resolution will run up against a legal standard that makes charges in a case like this difficult to bring.The evidence at the investigators' disposal is growing by the day.
“At this point, it’s difficult,” Miami-Dade Police spokesman Carlos Rosario said Friday. “There are human remains that are being identified ... it’s a scientific process, and we don’t want to say a wrong number. We took a step back.”
Burkett said there are still challenges in the quest to recover every victim, including water flooding the “bathtub” of a parking structure that continues to leak and crack. He said while the search mission — which is rounding out its third week — is progressing faster than anyone had imagined, discussing a timeline for the end of the search is still a touchy subject.
“It’s something everyone is uncomfortable about,” Burkett said.
As the search mission starts to wind down, outside engineers are wanting access to the site to investigate the cause of the collapse.
In response to the complaints of being blocked from the site, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle released a statement Thursday reminding them that law enforcement is in charge of the scene because it’s an active investigation.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, the federal agency responsible for investigating, released an update on Friday into its ongoing probe.
'Condo wars:' Surfside association fighting in Florida was extreme, but it's a familiar battle for HOAs
Infighting and financial battles play out across the nation in condos, homeowner associations and co-ops — roughly 380,000 associations in all."Why is all of this so complicated and expensive?" read the question that topped the board's meeting minutes over a list of major structural problems last October as the deadline for a state-required recertification of the Surfside, Florida building approached.
NIST, which was given the authority to investigate major building collapses after 9/11, is using remote sensing technology to determine where pieces of evidence were located in the debris pile as the site begins to be cleared.
Investigators are using lidar, which sends out rapid pulses of light and records the reflections to create a type of map, from balconies on adjacent buildings. Drones and time-lapse cameras are also capturing real-time images of the site as the pile continues to change.
At least 200 pieces of debris, including columns, beams and pieces of concrete, have been tagged as evidence by NIST and are currently being held by the Miami-Dade Police Department.
And NIST is also studying the adjacent Champlain Towers North condo building to gain a better understanding of why Champlain Towers South collapsed. NIST has installed accelerometers to measure building vibrations and a seismometer to measure ground vibrations to help with computer modeling of Champlain Towers South.
NIST, which is not empowered to determine fault for the collapse, is not evaluating the safety of Champlain Towers North, which is being reviewed by local and state agencies.
NIST, which is also working with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Florida State University, the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Geological Survey, is in the process of putting together a national team that will likely spend years investigating the collapse. Their investigation will aim to yield new information that will help prevent future building failures.
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.