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Death toll from collapsed Florida apartment block rises to 32

A hundred more people are still missing as workers removed 5.5 million pounds of debris from the site.

Gov Ron DeSantis tours the site of the rubble while people pass through the memorial wall to pay their respects.
Gov Ron DeSantis tours the site of the rubble while people pass through the memorial wall to pay their respects.
Image: Carl Juste

FOUR MORE VICTIMS have been found in the rubble of a collapsed apartment building in Florida, taking the death toll to 32, according to a fire official.

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah gave the news to family members during a closed-door morning briefing today. He said rescuers have also been locating more human remains.

Jadallah said there was a two-hour delay early today as a result of lightning. He said workers have removed 5.5 million pounds of debris from the pile at Surfside.

Over 100 people are still missing after the 12-story Champlain Towers South crumbled over a week ago in Surfside, but a search official put the chances of finding survivors at “close to zero.”

Still, crews “were in full search and rescue mode”, hours after the remaining section of building was toppled in a haze of smoke and dust, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told a briefing.

fl-collapsed-surfside-building-is-demolished The remaining portion of the Champlain Towers South condo is leveled by controlled implosion. Source: SIPA USA/PA Images

She said the demolition had gone according to plan and that searchers had found three more victims in the rubble after work resumed.

Levine Cava added that authorities had raised “millions of dollars, thanks to the generosity of people in this country and all around the world,” with funds to be distributed to impacted families.

Authorities had halted work at the site because the unstable structure posed a threat to search-and-rescue teams, especially ahead of the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa, probably today.

But as workers climbed back onto the huge debris pile, the head of an elite Israeli search-and-rescue team helping with the effort, Colonel Golan Vach, said on CNN he had told family members that the chances of now finding survivors were “close to zero.”

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The imminent arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa – it hit west-central Cuba Monday on its way toward the Florida Keys – forced authorities to accelerate the demolition schedule.

The collapse in the early hours of 24 June had sparked a massive search-and-rescue effort, but no survivors have been found since that day.

Experts are looking at possible pre-existing critical flaws in the building’s structure, and are surveying other older high-rises in the area for potential problems.

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