Rescue and recovery teams have resumed picking up rubble from a partially collapsed Florida condominium complex, nearly 3 hours after the search for dozens of victims believed to have been buried in rubble a week ago was suspended for security reasons.
The renewed search effort began shortly after a visit to the site of US President Joe Biden, who pledged federal aid and brought comfort to the families of those killed and missing in the June 24 disaster.
Biden, whose personal experience of the tragedy marked his political career, traveled to Florida to reprise the role of “Chief Comforter” a week after the 12-story condo at Champlain Towers South partially collapsed for at night while residents slept.
The confirmed death toll stood at 18 after the recovery of six other victims who were confirmed dead on Wednesday, including two children, aged four and 10, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine said Thursday. It’s okay.
Another 145 people were still missing and feared they would be trapped in the piles of sprayed concrete, chipped wood and twisted metal in the seaside town of Surfside, next to Miami Beach. Cava said the search for the rubble mounds resumed around 4:45 p.m. once authorities determined it was safe enough to do so.
The operation, which has continued around the clock shortly after the collapse, was halted around 2 a.m. Thursday when movement detected in the debris field raised concerns that part of the tower still standing does not collapse on the search teams.
Biden acknowledged that hopes of finding survivors were dwindling with each passing day, but said it was possible someone might still have come out alive.
âHope is eternal,â he told a press conference after meeting privately with affected families and before seeing flowers and posters woven into a fence like an impromptu memorial near the ruins.
“The whole nation is in mourning with these families. They see it every day on television, they live in hell,” he told reporters.
“I sat down with a woman who lost her husband and her baby boy and didn’t know what to do.”
Earlier today, Biden attended a briefing with local officials, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is widely viewed as a potential Republican presidential candidate in 2024.
Biden, a Democrat, told them he would provide “whatever you need” and said he expected the federal government to cover the full cost to the county and state and provide temporary accommodation for survivors.
After the briefing, Biden met with firefighters and other first responders who were searching for casualties at the site.
âI just wanted to say: thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you,â said Biden, who also appeared to refer to the people who saved his two sons from a car crash that killed his first wife and toddler daughter. in 1972..
Cava said authorities plan to safely demolish the section of the 12-story condo that was still standing as teams continued their search efforts.
Associated Australian Press