While the search and rescue efforts continue, the authorities revealed that there is already 12 deceased found.
Hand in hand with the great deployment of human and material resources, the number of victims of the collapse of a 12-story apartment building in Surfside (Miami-Dade) now rose to 12, while, five days after the fact, family and friends of the 149 disappeared they lose hope that they will turn up alive.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Tuesday that he had felt "frustration" and "anger" among family members who are waiting for the miracle of finding theirs alive.
The mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, and the governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis, in an appearance before the press with those responsible for the search and rescue operation, made an effort to emphasize that rescuers are doing everything they it is in his hands, "breaking his back" in the words of the second, to find victims in the rubble.
Levine Cava said that this morning 210 people were working at the disaster site who will be relieved at the end of their 12-hour shift by as many rescuers. According to he said at the press conference, there are more than 800 people assigned to the operation, with different tasks.
The best rescuers in the world
"They are enough, and we have the best in the world," said Levine Cava, who welcomed President Joe Biden's announcement that he plans to visit the site of the collapse on Thursday.
That same day but last week, at 1.30 in the morning, 55 apartments of the 136 that had the Champlain Towers South building, which is 40 years old, collapsed for reasons not yet determined but are already under investigation.
From various sources and documents, it is known that at least since 2018, there was information that the building had structural problems.
In April 2021, the president of the building's community reported that the deterioration of the reinforced concrete already detected by an engineering firm three years ago was progressing significantly, according to local media reported on Tuesday.
The mayor of Miami-Dade indicated Tuesday that the South Florida Prosecutor's Office is seeking a grand jury to investigate the tragedy and gave its support to the initiative.
This information, plus the scarce results of the search for victims, feed the frustration of the relatives of the disappeared, who until this Tuesday were 149.
According to the mayor, the list is not "definitive," and an attempt is being made to gather information with the consulates of various countries to make it more precise.
He also indicated that the 12 victims so far confirmed have already been identified. Among the disappeared are people from countries such as Israel, Cuba, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Venezuela. Also, among the deceased, there are foreigners.
A 24-hour search
Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky emphasized the difficulty and risk of search work and the great effort made by rescuers, including teams from other US states and Mexico and Israel.
According to him, the mountain of rubble has been being reviewed "layer by layer" without rest for six days.
In total, three million pounds (1.3 million kilograms) of debris have been removed with the help of heavy machinery.
In these six days, the work of the rescuers was hampered by a fire in the lower part of the pile of rubble that produced thick and potentially toxic smoke, in addition to rain and storms.
According to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, another concern for rescuers is that rubble is beginning to fall from the part of the damaged building that is still standing.
"Overnight, some things fell off the building that is still standing. And that is going to have to be addressed. "I understand from my conversation of the last few days that (...) they will have to remove these pieces so that it is safe for the workers to go down there," Burkett told the media before the press conference.
To control the fire, a large firebreak had to be built in the middle of the mountain of rubble, allowing rescuers to reach areas and angles that they could not reach before.
Only the first day were people found alive in the rubble. However, the heads of the rescuers and the authorities repeat that it is still possible to find survivors, as has happened in other tragedies.