Surfside collapse death toll up to 94; Leaders discuss future of site
The death toll from the Surfside condo collapse has risen to 94, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Monday morning.
It reflects that four more bodies have been found since Sunday morning.
Levine Cava said that 83 of those victims have been identified, with 80 next of kin notified. Another 22 people remain potentially unaccounted for after the June 24 collapse of the Champlain Towers South.
“I want to stress the police and medical examiner teams are continuing around the clock work to identify victims,” Levine Cava said. “However, the process has become more difficult as time goes on. The recovery at this point is yielding human remains.”
The mayor noted that the recovery mission faced some brief interruptions overnight caused by lightning. Officials have said that they are not certain when the work will be complete but that it could still be 2-3 weeks.
[ALSO SEE: READ STORIES ABOUT THE VICTIMS]
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Monday that discussions are underway about what will happen with the future of the condo collapse site. He noted that families of the victims are being consulted and that tightened security has been put in place there.
Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said that added security is proactive and to ensure that any belongings recovered are safely returned to the families.
Burkett also said that several badly damaged vehicles are now being pulled out as workers reach the garage area of the condo.
After Miami-Dade County chairman Jose “Pepe” Diaz and his chief of staff Isidro Lopez both tested positive for COVID-19 on Sunday, Levine Cava said those who came in close contact with them during the Surfside efforts have been tested.
Lt. Gov. Jeanette Núñez said that the website SurfsideAssistance.com has been set up so people can apply for help if affected by the tragedy.
REPLAY OF MONDAY MORNING’S NEWS CONFERENCE:
Three children under 10 were among the victims publicly identified by Miami-Dade police on Sunday.
Anna Sophia Pettengill Lopez Moreira, 6, and Alexa Maria Pettengill Lopez Moreira, 9, were identified as two of the bodies recovered Wednesday, police said. Lorenzo De Olivera Leone, 5, was recovered Thursday.
Levine Cava said Sunday that rescue crews have removed more than 14 million pounds of debris and rubble from the collapse site.
Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said it was uncertain when recovery operations would be completed because it remains hard to know when the final body will be found.
When the recovery phase began Wednesday, officials were hoping it could be done within three weeks. Cominsky said Sunday that it might now be as few as two weeks, based on the current pace of work.
“We were looking at a 14-day to 21-day timeframe,” he said, adding that the timeline remained “a sliding scale.”
Said Levine Cava: “We’re working to bring closure to families as quickly as we can.”
Other victims whose identities were made public by police on Sunday include: Maria Gabriela Camou, 64, Julio Cesar Velasquez, 66, Alfredo Leone, 48, Maria Torre, 76, Richard Augustine, 77, Luis Sadovnic, 28, and Edgar Gonzalez 42.