Florida apartment collapse demise toll rises

This aerial view shows search and rescue workers working on site after the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, north of Miami Beach, on June 24, 2021.

Chandan Khanna | AFP | Getty Images

The death toll has risen to nine people after a twelve-story condominium building collapsed in Florida, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference Sunday morning.

“We have identified four of the victims and notified the next of kin … We are making every effort to identify the others who have been recovered and are also contacting their family members as soon as we can,” said Levine Cava.

Champlain Towers South suddenly collapsed early Thursday morning in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach.

Search and rescue teams dug a 125-foot trench at the rescue site Saturday, allowing authorities to retrieve more bodies and human remains, Levine Cava said.

Miami-Dade police identified four of the deceased as Stacie Dawn Fang, 54, on Saturday night; Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79; and Manuel LaFont, 54.

According to the authorities, 156 people were missing as of Saturday.

Levine Cava and Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told the press Sunday morning that Saturday’s searchers contained the fire at the rescue center and rescues were continuing. Teams from Mexico and Israel are helping the rescue effort, Levine Cava and Burkett say.

“We don’t have a resource problem. We had a luck problem. We just have to start getting a little more luck now,” Burkett said on ABC News’ This Week on Sunday morning.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at the news conference on Sunday that debris from the rescue center will be moved to a separate location for forensic analysis.

Authorities are still investigating the cause of the collapse on Thursday. An engineer warned in a 2018 report of “major structural damage” in the collapsed condominium building. The report identified problems with the waterproofing under the pool deck and “abundant cracks” in the underground car park.

Levine Cava ordered a 30-day audit of all residential properties five floors or higher that are 40 years or older and come under the jurisdiction of the county on Saturday. The mayor encouraged cities to conduct their own building assessments as well.

Surfside has approved a voluntary evacuation of residents of Champlain Towers North, the sister property of the collapsed building. The city’s building inspector found no immediate cause for concern in the sister property, Levine Cava told NBC News’ Meet the Press on Sunday morning.

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