The death toll from the collapse of a Miami Area condo building rose to 78 on Friday, with the mayor calling it “heartbreaking” and “shocking” as rescue workers worked to find victims in the rubble for the 16th day.
A further 62 were not counted. No one has been seen alive since the first hour the building collapsed on June 24.
Miami-Tate Mayor Daniel Levine Kawa said work to rescue the victims still continues with all the urgency.
“This is a shocking and heartbreaking number that affects all of us so deeply,” he said.
On Thursday, the body of the sister of the country’s first lady was found in a radio report by the Paraguayan foreign minister. Several Latin American citizens reported when the building collapsed. Rescue workers are now focusing on finding survivors instead of survivors, promising to continue searching for victims.
The difficult search for survivors turned to an attempt to recover at midnight on Wednesday after authorities said they had come to the tragic conclusion that there was “no chance of life” in the rubble of the South Condo building on the Surface site.
After workers demolished the rest of the building and allowed new debris to enter, hopes of finding survivors were briefly rebuilt. There were some voids where survivors could have been trapped, mostly in the basement and parking garage, but no one was found alive. Instead, teams rescued a dozen additional victims.
No one was evacuated alive from the first hour the 12-story building collapsed on June 24.
State and local authorities have provided financial assistance to the families of the victims and residents of the building, as well as to those who survived but lost all possessions.
Meanwhile, authorities are launching a major arbitration investigation into the collapse. And at least six cases have been filed by families.