People look at a memorial containing photographs of some missing people from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 30, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
Joe Redl | Getty Images
More than a week after a 12-story building collapsed in Florida, at least 20 people were confirmed dead and 128 were unaccounted for, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniela Levin Cava said at a news conference Friday morning.
Levin Cava and Miami Mayor Francis Suarez said one of the new bodies was that of a seven-year-old boy whose father works for the Miami Fire Department.
“It was really different and more difficult for our first responders,” Levin Cava told reporters.
“These men and women are paying a huge human toll every day and I ask all of you, please keep them all in your thoughts and prayers. They truly represent the best in all of us, and we need to be should be there for them as they are here for us”
Levin Cava said the search for more victims was a top priority for authorities, but plans to demolish the building were progressing. He said a demolition could take weeks to complete.
Governor Ron DeSantis also provided additional updates on Hurricane Elsa, noting that southern Florida could see tropical storm force winds as of Sunday night. Officials are currently paying “special attention” to any potential impact on Miami-Dade County.
National Weather Service meteorologist Robert Moleda said the state is preparing for possible storm conditions later this week and heavy rain early next week.
Search and rescue operations resumed on Thursday night after a day-long pause, with officials hoping the search area would be expanded safely.
DeSantis said search and rescue teams for Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey will assist the state’s emergency response teams and preparations for Hurricane Elsa.
According to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Kominsky, the search and rescue operation on Thursday morning was due to structural concerns identified by subject matter experts.
The cause of the collapse is still being investigated.
Recent evidence indicates that the 40-year-old condominium building had shown signs of major structural damage as of 2018, with one report citing issues with waterproofing under the pool and cracks in the underground parking garage.
A video of the night of the collapse It has also come to light, with water being poured into the parking garage of the building.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, NIST, announced Wednesday evening that it had launched a federal investigation team to investigate the cause of the collapse and develop better building codes.
Former NIST director Dr. Walter Koppen, who headed the agency under then-President Donald Trump until January 2021, told the Miami Herald That it may be a matter of months before the NIST investigation will provide new facts.
According to the Herald, Copan said, “Generally, there will be a preliminary summary within three to six months to provide the public with a status update.”
“NIST’s job is, first and foremost, to regularly inform the public about NIST’s technical analysis and root cause of failure.”
After President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden’s surfside visit on Thursday, officials expressed their thanks for their support.
In addition to visiting first responders and families affected by the collapse, Biden pledged that the federal government would cover 100% of reimbursements for local governments facing losses due to the collapse, Florida Division of Emergency Management director Kevin Guthrie said Thursday. Said to