Condo Searchers Carry On Through Rain, Wind

4 more bodies found, bringing total to 32
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 6, 2021 12:02 PM CDT
Storm Complicates Recovery as Condo Toll Increases
Rescue workers handle a tarp containing recovered remains at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building Monday in Surfside, Fla.   (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)

The discovery of four more victims in the rubble of a collapsed Florida condominium building raised the death toll to 32, officials said Tuesday as a ramped-up search effort faced new threats from severe weather with Tropical Storm Elsa. Lightning forced rescuers to pause their work for two hours early Tuesday, said Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah, per the AP. Meanwhile, stiff winds of 20mph with stronger gusts hampered efforts to move heavy debris with cranes, officials said at a morning news conference. Up to 113 people remain unaccounted for, though only 70 of those are confirmed to have been inside the Champlain Towers South building in Surfside when it collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24.

"These teams continue through extremely adverse and challenging conditions," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava. "Through the rain and through the wind they have continued searching." At the disaster site Tuesday morning, power saws and backhoes could be heard as workers in yellow helmets and blue jumpsuits searched the rubble for a 13th day. Gray clouds from Elsa's outer bands swirled above. The storm's worst weather was expected to bypass Surfside and neighboring Miami as Elsa strengthened before making landfall somewhere between Tampa Bay and Florida's Big Bend and crossing northern Florida. Heavy rain from the storm was still possible.

(Read more Florida condo collapse stories.)

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