Frustrated at Search, Families to Visit Site of Condo Collapse

Death toll has reached 9, officials say
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 27, 2021 12:30 PM CDT
Frustrated at Search, Families to Visit Site of Condo Collapse
Crews work Sunday near a open tunnel, center near the bottom, in the rubble at Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida.   (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The death toll in the collapse of a condo building in Florida has reached nine, officials said Sunday. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press conference that one person died at the hospital and eight were found at the site of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, CNN reports. Crews are still searching for the more than 150 people who are missing. In other developments:

  • Families of the victims will be allowed to visit the rescue site. "It will be a very private event," Levine Cava said.
  • The fire that had been a problem for rescuers is under control, Levine Cava said, eliminating the threat and hinderance caused by smoke.
  • Pieces of the wreckage will be moved by heavy equipment to a warehouse to be analyzed, per the Washington Post. "The debris that gets out does have forensic value, and so that’s going to be parsed," Gov. Ron DeSantis said.
  • Families told officials of their frustration with the pace of search updates Sunday at the reunification center. Requests for identifying information about the missing, such as tatoos or clothing, have upset the families more, per WPLG. "This tragedy has put us together. Please understand that," the Miami-Dade police director said. "We have to get through this together."
  • Surfside's mayor reassured families waiting for answers, per the New York Times. "We are working 24 hours a day, nonstop, nothing else on our mind," Charles Burkett said, adding, "We're going to keep going until everybody is out."

  • The Army Corps of Engineers is giving technical help at the site. Administrator Deanne Criswell also said FEMA has started to register families needing assistance and will provide "face-to-face" guidance in receiving government aid.
  • A Realtor said it was just an awful coincidence when a condo in the east tower was listed for sale a day after the south tower collapsed. Siarhei Zavadski removed the listing when it attracted hateful messages, per the Miami Herald, many from people who thought the $1,375,000 condo being sold was in the south tower. The agreement called for the posting Friday, and the listing process had taken a couple of days, he said. Zavadski then posted screenshots showing the listing was in a different building. "I understand it is a tragedy, but people misunderstand the situation," he said.
  • The organizer of an improvised memorial to the victims complained to DeSantis before the press conference began that the street it's on has been blocked off. Burkett intervened, telling the man the city will move the memorial to a park nearby. People have left photos, rosaries, flowers, and toys found in the rubble at the memorial.
(Read more building collapse stories.)

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