SURFSIDE, Fla. — Search crews scouring the rubble after a beachfront condo building collapsed last week in Florida have uncovered the body of a 10th victim as the search continues for scores of others who remain missing, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Monday at a news conference.
“We’re going to continue and work ceaselessly to exhaust every possible option in our search,” Cava said. “Right now, our top priority is (to) search, and rescue, and find people.”
Authorities have identified eight people who died in the building collapse, which was reported around 1:50 a.m. on Thursday. They have been identified as: Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79; Manuel LaFont, 54; Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Luis Bermudez, 26; Anna Ortiz, 46; and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74.
Cava said that at least 151 people remained missing Monday and that detectives were working to audit that list. She added that 135 people have so far been accounted for.
“We’re receiving multiple calls still from family members about the same loved ones and the information is coming from various sources,” Cava said. “These numbers are very fluid, and they will continue to change.”
Rescuers are working to remove crushed concrete and twisted steel in layers, with particular focus on spaces identified which could be sheltering survivors, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said.
“There’s a misunderstanding ... that everyone believes that the search and rescue operations should cease after a specific time, and that’s far from the truth,” he said Monday. “In the end, there’s numerous variables and facts. It’s not based on opinions, it’s not based on time. It’s not based on, you know, a specific area you just happened to see on TV that went down. It’s based on variables and facts. It’s based on variables and facts. In conjunction with that, we have to consider all options.”
In some areas, officials said they have heard sounds which have indicated that people might still be trapped in the rubble, however, Jadallah stressed that the significance of the sounds remained unclear Monday.
“It’s not sounds of people talking or yelling out,” he said. “It could be a tap, it could be a scratch, it may be nothing more than some of the metal that’s contorting – but at the end, as I’ve said before, all variables, all facts have to be made before we make the decision to move to the next phase.”
Gov. Ron DeSantis vowed Monday that the search continues and “will not stop.” He praised rescuers, who he said have “been going at it for over 100 hours straight.”
“They have been every minute of every day since the building collapsed trying to identify survivors,” DeSantis said. “They’re putting themselves at risk in order to do that – not only because … you could have additional collapse, you’ve had deep-seated fires that they’ve had to fight. It’s been an incredibly hazardous environment and they’ve been on the scene, non-stop, since the very beginning.”
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