Death toll in Florida condo collapse rises by 6 to 60


Crews searching the collapsed condominium tower near Miami recovered an additional six bodies, bringing the death toll to 60, officials said on Thursday, one day after declaring there was no longer hope of finding anyone alive.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told a news conference that 80 people were still considered missing in the disaster, believed to have been inside the Champlain Towers South condo when it abruptly crumbled in the early hours of June 24.

As of midnight local time, the emergency effort officially transitioned from an attempt to find survivors to a recovery operation, vanquishing any hope of extracting anyone alive from the rubble.

“Yesterday was tough,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said at the news conference. “But the work is going to go on and they are going to identify every single person.”

WATCH | Work at Florida condo collapse moves to recovery phase: 

The search for possible survivors in the collapse of a condo in Surfside, Fla., has ended, says Daniella Levine Cava, the mayor of Miami-Dade County. ‘We have truly exhausted every option,’ she said. The mission is now in the recovery phase. (Carl Juste/Miami Herald via AP) 0:55

Crews have “used every possible strategy, and every possible technology available to them” to find people in the rubble, Levine Cara said.

“They’ve removed over seven million pounds of concrete and debris from the mound. They’ve used sonar, cameras, dogs, heavy machinery. They’ve searched for void spaces and they’ve searched for victims,” she said.

Hours before the formal transition from rescue to recovery mission, emergency workers joined local officials, rabbis and chaplains in a moment of silence.

A member of the Israeli search and rescue team salutes in front of the rubble that once was Champlain Towers South during a prayer ceremony and a moment of silence in Surfside, Fla., on Wednesday. (Jose A. Iglesias/Reuters)

Officials vowed to continue the recovery efforts until they find the remains of every person missing.

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told families during a private briefing that crews would stop using rescue dogs and listening devices.

“Our sole responsibility at this point is to bring closure,” he said, as relatives cried in the background.

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