Collapsed Miami Condo Search Goes On, 12 Deaths Confirmed

Search and rescue teams continued to search through shattered remains of Miami’s Champlain Towers South condo, which collapsed last week, as the death toll rises.

Family members and friends of nearly 150 people still missing after the accident faced a sixth wrenching day of waiting without much cause for hope.

The search for survivors continues, with rescue personnel working hard to find them since the collapse of the 12-story building in Surfside, Miami, Florida. However, no one has been rescued since Thursday, and two bodies were found Monday.

“We have people waiting and waiting and waiting for news,” Miami-Dade mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, told reporters.

“We have them coping with the news that they might not have their loved ones come out alive and still hope against hope that they will. They’re learning that some of their loved ones will come out as body parts. This is the kind of information that is just excruciating for everyone,” she added.

Officials and rescuers emphasized that missing people’s friends and relatives remain hopeful.

They contacted those people and invited them to observe the search for their loved ones, Levina Cava said. “Some are feeling more hopeful, some less hopeful, because we do not have definitive answers. We give them the facts. We take them to the site,” she added.

On Monday, authorities identified three more people who died in the collapse.

They were Marcus Joseph Guara, 52, Michael David Altman, 50, Frank Kleiman, 55, Kleiman’s wife Ana Ortiz, 46, and their son, Luis Bermúdez, 26. Residents created memorials to honor the deceased, both on the beach and along the fences surrounding the collapsed tower, and decorated them with photos, flowers, and handmade signs.

Rescuers have also left toys, photos, and other objects found among the debris at the memorial.

The famous volunteer group Topos, formed in response to Mexico City’s 1985 earthquake, and Israel Defense Forces’ members joined rescue teams to assist the search. However, weather conditions, including heavy rains, have hindered the process.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said during a news conference Tuesday that the complicated weather conditions sparked frustration among the families of the missing.

But he and other officials spoke with them Tuesday morning, stating that “there was frustration, there was a little anger, there were some questions about why the work has to stop when there [are] thunderstorms and lightning.”

“Nobody is giving up here. No one is stopping,” Burkett added.

Experts also explained that the search and rescue process had been necessarily slow as crews must consider the possibility that abrupt movements could collapse voids in the debris where some survivors might be shielding.

Speculation about what caused the collapse is mounting, citing previous inspections and warnings issued on the building, but finding an answer could take months.