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Death toll rises in Florida condo tower collapse


This aerial view, shows search and rescue personnel 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 12-story condominium building collapsed in Florida, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press conference Sunday morning.

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

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

Search and rescue teams created a 125-feet-long trench at the rescue site on Saturday, which allowed authorities to recover additional bodies and human remains, Levine Cava said.

Levine Cava and Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told press on Sunday morning that searchers contained fire in the rescue site on Saturday and are continuing rescue operations. Teams from Mexico and Israel are aiding rescue efforts, according to Levine Cava and Burkett.

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

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

Authorities are still investigating the cause of Thursday’s collapse. An engineer in a 2018 report warned of “major structural damage” in the condo building that collapsed. The report identified issues with waterproofing below the pool deck and “abundant cracking” in the underground parking garage.

Levine Cava on Saturday ordered a 30-day audit of all residential properties, five stories or higher, that are 40 years or older and fall under the county’s jurisdiction. The mayor encouraged cities to do their own building reviews as well.

Surfside has authorized a voluntary evacuation of residents of Champlain Towers North, the sister property of the collapsed building built. The town’s building inspector did not find any immediate causes of concern in the sister property, Levine Cava told NBC News’ “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning.


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