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Death toll from Surfside condo collapse up to 11, 150 people still missing

Building Collapse Miami Surfside
Posted at 12:00 PM, Jun 28, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-29 13:02:33-04

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Monday that the death toll from a collapsed condominium tower had risen to 11 after first responders pulled an additional body from the rubble.

She added that 150 people remain unaccounted for and 136 have been accounted for following the Thursday morning collapse.

Officials have also identified four more of the deceased victims:
-Leon Oliwkowicz, 80
-Luis Bermudez, 26
-Anna Ortiz, 46
-Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74

Last week authorities identified the first four victims.
-Staci Dawn Fang, 54
-Antonio Lozano, 83
-Gladys Lozano, 79
-Manuel Lafont, 54

Levine Cava added that first responders are still focused on search and rescue efforts.

"We are exploring all possible avenues (first responders) identify," Levine Cava said. "Search and rescue operations continue."

Raide Jadallah, the assistant chief of rescue for Miami-Dade County, said that officials had discovered several large pockets in debris that might hold survivors.

He also cautioned that officials need to be judicious in moving debris, adding that missteps could result in further collapse. He noted that one rescuer fell 25 feet over the weekend during his work.

"What we're dealing with is a situation that includes complexity," he said. "Every time there's an action, there's a reaction."

Monday marked the fifth straight day first responders had searched a large pile of debris for survivors. Officials said first responders are working 12-hour shifts.

"This is the largest-ever deployment of task force resources in the history of Florida that is not a hurricane," Florida State Fire Marshall Jimmy Patronis said. "They come from Tallahassee, they come from Orlando, they come from Tampa, they come from Israel, they come from Mexico, they come from Jacksonville, they come from Ft. Myers. They leave their families to come work around the clock. The reward is the life they save."

Fire officials have also had to deal with a fire that broke out within the wreckage. As of Sunday, officials said they had contained that fire.

Jose "Pepe" Diaz, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County board of commissioners, spoke to the difficulties facing the loved ones of those still missing.

"The pain in their face, their expressions is unlike anything I've ever seen before," Diaz said. "It's very difficult to know what your loved one could still be alive and have the hope to believe that. And at the same time, just sit there and wait for that information to get to you. That has to be one of the most difficult things anyone can endure."

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett shared the touching story of a young girl whose parent is still missing.

"When I came across her, she was sitting in a chair by herself, with nobody around her, looking at her phone," he said. "I knelt down, and I asked her, 'So what are you doing? Are you okay?' She said 'yes.' She was reading a Jewish prayer to herself by the site where one of her parents presumably is. That really brought it home to me."

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis added that his state would begin deploying resources to investigate the cause of the collapse as soon as possible.

"There are things that need to be done at the state level," DeSantis said, "We obviously want to get information as soon as possible, so we pledge at the state if they need support from engineers, from experts whatever we need, whether it's Surfside or Miami, we're here to help. I think the people of Florida want to understand how this could happen and what could we do to make sure it doesn't happen again."

Mayor Cava said Thursday evening that $1.6 million have been raised to help families via http://SupportSurfside.org.