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Rescue efforts in Surfside suspended as officials prepare to demolish tower

Building Collapse Miami Surfside
Posted at 10:53 AM, Jul 03, 2021

Rescue efforts at the site of a partially collapsed condo tower in Surfside, Florida, have been suspended as officials prepare to demolish the portion of the building that's still standing.

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said that first responders suspended their rescue mission at 4 p.m. ET on Saturday. He reiterated during a press conference that the demolition was necessary to keep rescue workers safe.

An emergency order approving the demolition has already been signed.

Workers will bring down the Champlain Towers South on Sunday ahead of the expected arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa.

Structural concerns about the building prompted the stoppage of search and rescue efforts for more than 12 hours on Thursday.

The tower partially collapsed in the early morning hours of June 24.

Earlier on Saturday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Lavine Cava confirmed that two more bodies were pulled from the debris overnight Friday into Saturday. The additional victims bring the death toll to 24, and another 126 who are presumed to be in the building at the time it crumbled are still missing.

Eighteen of the 22 people killed in the collapse have been identified. They are:

  • Hilda Noriega, 92
  • Antonio Lozano, 83
  • Leon Oliwkowicz, 80
  • Magaly Elena Delgado, 80
  • Gladys Lozano, 79
  • Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74
  • Maria Obias-Bonnefoy, 69
  • Frank Kleiman, 55
  • Staci Dawn Fang, 54
  • Manuel LaFont, 54
  • Marcus Joseph Guara, 52
  • Michael David Altman, 50
  • Anna Ortiz, 46
  • Anaely Rodriguez, 42
  • Luis Bermudez, 26
  • Andreas Giannitsopoulous, 21
  • Lucia Guara, 10
  • Emma Guara, 4

Officials have also confirmed that the 7-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter was also among those killed in the collapse.