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Last missing person from Miami building collapse identified

98 were killed when the residential building collapsed last month.

Rescue teams working at the residential building collapse site last week.
Rescue teams working at the residential building collapse site last week.
Image: Xinhua News Agency/PA Images

AUTHORITIES IN SURFSIDE, Florida yesterday identified the last missing person from the partial collapse of a residential condo building last month.

Miami-Dade County mayor Daniella Levine-Cava said that 98 deaths have now been confirmed. 

“Today, I can report that because of these sustained heroic efforts, the last remaining missing person has now been accounted for and identified,” she said. 

“98 victims have now been identified, including 97 victims who were recovered in the collapse and one person that passed away in the hospital.”

While all the unidentified victims have been found, Levine-Cava said police were continuing to search for evidence and human remains among the tons of debris from the building, which were transferred to a warehouse.

The 12-story Champlain Towers South building partially collapsed in the early morning of 24 June facing the ocean in Surfside, north of Miami Beach.

Firefighters worked for weeks at the scene of the disaster, until winding up their efforts last Friday.

Except for a teenager rescued hours after the tower collapsed, they found no survivors in the rubble of the building and soon focused on recovering human remains.

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Miami-Dade police said yesterday that the last identified victim was Estelle Hedaya, 54. Her brother told The New York Times she had recently moved to Florida from New York.

Just over a month after the disaster, the exact reason for the collapse remains unknown, although preliminary findings have shown some of the building’s structure appeared degraded.

The rest of the building had to be evacuated after the disaster, and authorities demolished it on July 4, considering it to be a danger to the search and rescue teams.

- AFP 2021

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