The remains of Champlain Towers South, once too risky for heavy machinery and threatened by the remaining structure looming over rescuers, is now nearly level to the ground as excavators remove piles of debris.
According to Miami-Dade County, more than 22 million pounds of concrete and debris have been removed.
Officials in the area promised victims’ families to work diligently until all of their loved ones are recovered, a task that is becoming more time sensitive.
“The process of making identifications has become more difficult as time goes on,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “We must rely heavily on the work of the medical examiner’s office … to identify human remains. The process is very methodical and it’s careful and it does take time,” she said.
In the search, 240 people are accounted for, 97 victims have been recovered, 90 of which have been identified and 88 next of kin have been notified, a release from Miami-Dade County said. Eight people remain unaccounted for, and all of them have open missing persons reports with the Miami-Dade Police Department.
The site has been both a place of taxing work and solemn reunion.
The tragedy has affected victims from multiple Latin American countries, including Colombia, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay.
Surfside — a small, eclectic town of about 6,000 people — is also home to a large population of Orthodox Jews. Following the collapse when families were reuniting, it was common to hear a mix of conversations in Hebrew, Spanish, English and Portuguese.
“It is obvious that this has become more than a collapsed building site. It’s a holy site,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said earlier this week.
Frantic 911 calls from the first moments of the collapse
The 911 calls during the first moments of the deadly collapse reveal chaos and confusion among residents and witnesses as the building came down.
“It seems like something underground, everything exploded,” one caller told dispatchers, adding that it seemed like an earthquake.
Another caller, who told dispatchers they were in a parking garage, begged for help.
“I know the police are here already. Can somebody help me get out please?” the caller pleaded. “I was able to escape, but I’m outside in the parking lot. If the building comes down, it will come down on my head.”
One caller told dispatchers their sister lived in the building, but was confused as to what happened and how people would get rescued.
“I don’t know if something happened to it, but half of the building’s not there anymore,” the caller said. “There’s two people, they are, they’re alive but it, they can’t get out because there’s no building on the other side of their apartment.”
CNN obtained and transcribed these frantic phone calls about three weeks after Champlain Towers South came down.
Collapse spurs reviews of building safety
But Singer noted that there will be key differences, including a shorter timeline to recertify buildings and greater reporting requirements.
The mayor added that officials are considering requiring buildings to be recertified after 30 years or fewer, but the details will be discussed further in the next few weeks as the city council introduces the measure.
Boca Raton is located 38 miles up the Atlantic Coast from Surfside.
In nearby Sunny Isles Beach, Vice Mayor Larisa Svechin said inspections on older condo buildings would start immediately.
And the city of Miami sent a letter to buildings urging new inspections for those more than six stories tall and more than 40 years old.
CNN’s Aya Elamroussi, Tina Burnside, Kelsie Smith, Rebekah Riess and Faith Karimi contributed to this report.Source link