Fla. Condo Collapse: Death Toll Rises to 27 in Overnight Hours After Building Demolition
The official death toll from the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Florida, has now risen to 27 as more victims from the tragic incident have been located.
Three additional bodies were recovered overnight on July 4, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during a news conference Monday. There are still 118 people unaccounted for despite search efforts.
The two most recent victims to be identified were 66-year-old Ingrid Ainsworth and 68-year-old Tzvi Ainsworth, the Miami-Dade Police Department confirmed.
The rest of the partially collapsed building was demolished on Sunday night. Levine Cava said that the demolition was "executed exactly as planned" to prevent more of the structure from falling on the existing rubble pile.
"Truly we could not continue without bringing this building down," Levine Cava explained, adding that the instability of the structure made it unsafe for search and rescue efforts to go as planned.
Levine Cava also stressed that first responders used several methods to evacuate any animals that may have been inside the standing portion of the tower before moving forward with the demolition process.
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"We went, truly, to great lengths to take every step that we could at great risk to our first responders to ensure that all of the pets that were beloved family members — that none of them were left in the building," she said.
Search and rescue operations were briefly halted last week due to "structural concerns" about the standing portion of the condo. The operation picked up again on Thursday evening.
The search resumed the same day that President Joe Biden traveled to Florida to meet with state officials, first responders, and families of the victims who were in the Champlain Towers South condo when it collapsed on June 24.
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Officials were also braced for a potential threat from Tropical Storm Elsa, which is expected to hit Florida mid-week. However, at this time, the storm will likely make landfall in the Tampa area as opposed to Miami, according to AccuWeather.com.
The area may still experience some heavy rain and winds, so officials are continuing to monitor the situation, Levine Cava confirmed.