Final Victim Recovered from Florida Condo Collapse Debris, Bringing Surfside Death Toll to 98
Estelle Hedaya, who lived in unit 604 of the Champlain Towers South condo that fell in the early morning hours of June 24, has finally been found
The final victim has been recovered from site of the devastating Surfside, Florida condo collapse that killed 98 people last month.
Estelle Hedaya, who lived in unit 604 of the Champlain Towers South condo that fell in the early morning hours of June 24, has finally been pulled from the debris, her brother Ikey Hedaya confirmed to the Associated Press on Monday.
Ikey described his 54-year-old sister as an outgoing woman who loved to travel and felt incredibly connected to her Jewish faith.
"She always mentioned God anytime she was struggling with anything," Ikey told the AP. "She had reached a different level spiritually, which allowed her to excel in all other areas."
Before Estelle's remains were found, her mother Linda Hedaya told The Washington Post that she was hoping her daughter would eventually be identified so the family can begin burial traditions.
"She's not in the place she's supposed to be," Linda told the outlet, explaining that she worried her daughter wasn't resting.
It has taken over four weeks for crews to recover and identify all of the missing persons from the collapse. Ultimately, the only survivors were retrieved from the rubble hours after the building fell.
Florida officials ended rescue efforts on July 7 following the demolition of the standing portion of the building. They instead refocused on recovering and identifying victims' remains. The condo's debris have since been cleared, leaving only a few concrete slabs and support columns where the building once stood.
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"We have all asked God for a miracle, so the decision to transition from rescue to recovery is an extremely difficult one," Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said earlier this month as she announced that they would be transitioning to recovery efforts.
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Though the cause of the collapse remains unclear, Surfside Vice Mayor Tina Paul previously told The Washington Post that the building had passed inspection just a day before the June 24 collapse.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has said that engineers will investigate the cause of the collapse, but that answers might take time. "You're not gonna have those answers immediately, but I know that they are going to be working diligently to do that," he said following the building's collapse.