Surfside condo collapse: Death toll rises to 20; 128 unaccounted for

SURFSIDE, Fla. — The death toll after last week’s condo building collapse in Surfside has risen to 20 as crews continue to search for survivors while officials monitor for a possible hurricane headed for the Florida coast.

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Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said two more bodies have been pulled from the wreckage left when the Champlain Towers South building partially collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24.

“Tragically, one of those victims was the 7-year-old daughter of a City of Miami firefighter,” she said.

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Officials did not immediately release the girl’s name. So far, authorities have released the names of 17 of the building collapse victims. They have been identified as Hilda Noriega, 92; Antonio Lozano, 83; Magaly Elena Delgado, 80; Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Gladys Lozano, 79; Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74; Frank Kleiman, 55; Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Manuel LaFont, 54; Marcus Joseph Guara, 52; Michael Davis, 50; Anna Ortiz, 46; Anaely Rodriguez, 42; Luis Bermudez, 26; Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21; Lucia Guara, 10; and Emma Guara, 4.

As of Friday morning, Cava said 128 people remained unaccounted for as officials continue to audit the list of people still missing.

“In some cases in which we originally received a report of a potentially missing person, that report was only listed as one person,” Cava said. “But when the detectives were able to reach and verify the safety of the person in question, we discovered that there are in fact several family members who could have been accounted for, potentially, in the building, and now we can mark them as safe.”

Authorities spoke Friday as Hurricane Elsa spun in the Atlantic Ocean on a potential path to Florida. Gov. Ron DeSantis said tropical storm force winds could reach Southern Florida as soon as Sunday.

“We don’t know exactly the tract that it’s going to take,” he said. “I’ve ordered our Department of Emergency Management to start preparing a potential state of emergency.”

The cause of the Champlain Towers South building collapse is under investigation. A 2018 engineering report found that the building’s ground-floor pool deck was resting on a concrete slab that had “major structural damage” and needed extensive repairs. The report also found “abundant cracking” of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.

Just two months before the building came down, the president of its board wrote a letter to residents saying that structural problems identified in the 2018 inspection had “gotten significantly worse” and that major repairs would cost at least $15.5 million. With bids for the work still pending, the building suddenly collapsed last Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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