Surfside building collapse: Efforts ongoing to remove all victims from Champlain Towers South rubble

Search efforts entered an eighteenth day on Sunday as rescue workers continue searching for victims of the Surfside building collapse.

As of Saturday, the total number of confirmed deaths from the horrible disaster was 86, with another 43 people who remain potentially unaccounted for.

A ceremony was held to honor the Israeli Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, which departed the site after two weeks of amazing, tireless work.

Also on Saturday, Miami-Dade police released the identities of eight victims that had been removed from the rubble during the week.

The body of Elena Blasser, 64, was recovered Monday and Elena Chavez, 87, was recovered Tuesday, while Nicole Langesfeld, 26, Ana Mora, 70, and Marina Restrepo Azan, 76, were recovered on Wednesday and Miguel Pazos, 55, Richard Rovirosa, 60 and Oresme Gil Guerra, 60 were recovered Thursday.

Crews also recovered the bodies of a 5-year-old child and 44-year-old on Thursday, but those identities were not released at the family’s request.

Rescue workers have been operating in dangerous conditions at the site. On Friday, three workers required medical attention and another suffered a cardiac incident and had to be hospitalized.

Another concern has been the air quality. Samples taken at the site have shown that the air is hazardous, especially on top of and around what remains of the collapsed structure.

“Hazardous material technicians are constantly sampling and monitoring the air quality, and all first responders on the pile and in the surrounding area wear proper protective gear, including masks,” Levine Cava said Saturday.

It was earlier in the week on Wednesday when officials made the difficult decision to switch efforts from search and rescue to search and recovery.

In the days following the collapse, officials were quick to begin looking for other buildings in South Florida that could have similar issues, which included a condo in North Miami Beach and as of Friday, the Miami-Dade County Courthouse located downtown.

Engineers and officials have also been examining the Champlain Towers North, which was built by the same developer of the collapsed south towers and around the same time in 1981, with similar materials and design.

Surfside building collapse

HOW TO HELP: Here’s a list of resources to support those impacted by building collapse Profiles: More about the victims identified Photos: Loved ones name those they say are missing Photos: Search-and-rescue teams in action Hotline and wellness form for residents and families

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