Efforts Turn From Rescue To Recovery; Death Toll At 54 – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County’s Mayoress Daniella Levine Cava said Wednesday afternoon that they had shifted their operations from rescue to rescue at Surfside after exhausting all of the search and rescue mission’s available options.

She said the decision to move from search and rescue to recovery was a difficult one.

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“It is with deep sadness that I can announce this afternoon that we have made the extremely difficult decision to move from operation search and rescue to rescue,” said the mayor.

The mayor said they recovered eight more victims, a total of 54 confirmed deaths, of which 33 have been identified.

“At this point, 200 people have been recorded and 86 people may not be recorded,” said the mayor.

On Wednesday at 7.15 p.m., crews, local officials and religious leaders gathered on site for prayer, followed by a minute’s silence to commemorate the victims.

WATCH: A moment of silence at the Surfside collapse site in honor of the victims

The search for victims of the Surfside collapse reached its 14th day on Wednesday.

“It has now been exactly two weeks since the Champlain Tower South collapsed. You all know our search and rescue teams from our local community, from all over Florida, from all over the country, and from around the world dug through this breakdown. That they used every possible strategy and technology at their disposal to find people in the rubble. They removed over 7 million pounds of concrete and rubble, “said the mayor.

“Nothing can bring back the lives we lost. But we can and will do everything in our power to identify all victims and bring families to a close during this time of unimaginable grief, ”she added.

Earlier in the day, during the 11 a.m. press conference, the mayor said:

“The search and rescue operations have continued and we are fortunate that the weather cleared up this morning. The teams continue to make progress in areas of the pile that were inaccessible prior to demolition, ”said the mayor. “Through these efforts and since our last briefing, they have recovered 10 more victims.”

WATCH: Mayor of Miami-Dade on more bodies found

“Our community and the world mourn with all the families who are living through this unthinkable tragedy. Every single victim exposed is someone’s child, someone’s mother, someone’s teacher, someone, a colleague, a classmate,
a best friend, ”she said.

The mayor choked back tears as he described the tireless efforts of search and rescue teams that worked around the clock for two weeks to find victims.

Graciela, 86, and Gino Cattarossi, 89, were among those identified on Wednesday. The parents of the photographer Graciela Cattarossi and her seven-year-old granddaughter Stella, who also died in the collapse.

CONTINUE READING: Miami-Dade Grand Jury is due to weigh in after the condominium collapses

Simon Segal, 80, has also been identified. He lived on the 12th floor and was an engineer specializing in structural engineering.

“I can tell you that I haven’t seen as much work in the past two weeks as I do now. Maximum effort will be made, “said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett.

“We are working as hard as possible to find all relatives,” said fire chief Alan Cominsky.

A crisis response team has placed markings on one of the Walls of Hope depicting some of the deceased.

“It is a gift for anyone who wants to write a message to these hearts of hope,” said coordinator Bonnie Fear.

The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners will look into the Champlain Towers South tragedy during its session Thursday.

Commissioners are expected to discuss a number of issues surrounding the condominium collapse, including the unified response from federal, state and local governments and how such a tragedy can be prevented in the future.

The mayor said the victims of the disaster would immediately receive a check for $ 5,000 to help replace valuable documents.

To date, $ 1.7 million has been donated to Surfside’s Disaster Fund.

CBS4 cameras captured dump trucks heading to the heap of rubble, where they picked up debris that was taken to a nearby field.

To learn how something like this could happen, Governor Ron DeSantis said:

“I only spoke to people who were there, people who did things. I think this building had problems from the start, let’s put it that way. “

The search area was expanded on Monday after the remaining standing building was demolished on Sunday night.

A CBS4 News camera was aboard a boat just offshore capturing the remains of the collapsing Champlain Tower South.

WATCH: Remnant of the collapsed Surfside condo demolished

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Neighbors 4 Neighbors set up a fund to help families affected by collapse and feed first responders. To contribute, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404 or go to Neighbors4neighbors.org/surfsidefund.

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