Thus, 151 people are missing five days after the collapse of the Champlain Towers condominium in Surfside.
The number of victims of the collapse of a 12-story residential building in the city of Surfside, Florida, increased to 10 after the discovery of another body, reported today the Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, while 151 people are still missing, including nine Argentines.
“This morning we recovered another body, which brings the count to 10,” said the mayor, adding that the “total number of people” who were “found is 135, and the number of missing is 151.”
After the collapse, last Thursday of the 55 departments of the 136 Champlain Towers complex, 300 Miami-Dade County firefighters, supported by reinforcements from all over the state of Florida, worked to begin rescue efforts.
According to the families of the victims, the operations among the rubble of iron and concrete are progressing too slowly, the Megalopreneur reported.
According to the information provided, there are 29 Latin Americans for whom there is no news: nine from Argentina, six from Colombia, six from Paraguay, four from Venezuela, three from Uruguay, and one from Chile.
“It seems slow, but we’re moving as fast as possible,” said Maggie Castro, a member of the Miami-Dade Fire Department’s No. 1 Search and Rescue Unit, who understands anger and frustration anyway.
He added that “it is a difficult operation” that is being interrupted by regular thunderstorms and a fire that took a long time to control.
“We have to search through a huge pile of debris in a methodical and strategic way,” said Castro, 52, 17 as a member of the Miami Fire Department, adding that “there are areas with possible air pockets where there may be survivors. If we rush into the rubble aggressively, we destroy those spaces. ”
For his part, the mayor of Surfside, Charles Burkett, explained today that there is “probable cause” to believe that there could be a problem in the twin building of the collapsed, which has already been voluntarily evacuated, the DPA agency reported.
Meanwhile, the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, announced that researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST, for its acronym in English) traveled to the area to investigate the possible causes of the collapse of the building.
The first rescuers, who arrived shortly after the disaster, managed to pull a teenager alive from the ruins. Meanwhile, human remains have not yet been identified.
Given the slow increase in the number of victims despite the magnitude of the tragedy, Castro said that “people were probably in bed when it happened,” so there is little chance of finding many at once.
Heavy machinery, two cranes, and an excavator were deployed on Friday; When a concrete slab is lifted, rescuers “work by hand, scooping out the debris with buckets,” he explained.
The crews are using various equipment and technology, including underground sonar systems that can detect victims and crane trucks that can remove huge slabs of concrete from the pile, said Andy Alvarez, head of the Miami-Dade Fire Department to ABC. the ANSA agency reported.
Between 50 and 60 rescuers and dog, units are constantly working on the site, supported by image and sound technology to locate air spaces.
Moises Soffer, a volunteer for the Jewish-Latin American organization Cadena International, participates with Oreo, his almost two-year-old pomsky dog, specially trained to find survivors.
“I let her go and she goes where she wants. In gaps, spaces where an adult cannot go, in unstable places thanks to her weight,” says this 36-year-old Mexican.
If Soffer detects danger, the recognition is made with the leash and the dog marks “the direction” to follow.
Oreo can work five to six hours straight, with 20-minute breaks, and at Surfside, it works early in the morning and late in the afternoon due to the heat and humidity.
Soffer is not authorized to say if his dog detected survivors, although he assured that he will stay “as long as it takes.”
Castro said that during the rescue efforts they hear “falling debris, twisted metal, but we have not heard human noise.”
“It is difficult, exhausting, and emotionally heavy when we work for hours without finding anyone,” he admitted.
Alvarez said that “this is a frantic search to continue seeing that hope, that miracle, to see who we can get out of this building alive.”
Conditions are “bad” and “not ideal” for rescuers due to the heat, humidity, and rain, he said.
“Now that we have these huge cranes we are doing big lifts (of rubble). That will help us to laminate this building almost like an onion, so we can go in and again find those voids that we know could possibly be there and rescue those people, ”he declared.
Faced with the impatience of the families of the victims, including many members of the Jewish community, the county welcomed a team of Israeli specialists, ten experts who joined the rescue teams working at the site.
Castro recalled that his unit has experience: it participated in search and rescue work after the 2010 Haiti earthquake and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
Some of his team members also participated in relief operations after the Oklahoma attacks in 1995, and on September 11, 2001, at the Twin Towers in New York.