Death toll from Florida condo collapse rises to 11 as rescuers search debris

Mourners stop to pay respects to the missing victims at the memorial outside St. Joseph Catholic Church near the collapsed Champlain Towers condo in Surfside, Fla., on Wednesday. Photo by Gary I Rothstein/UPI | License Photo

June 28 (UPI) -- Authorities said Monday two more bodies have been found in the debris of a condo tower near Miami Beach that partly collapsed on Thursday, with about 150 people unaccounted for.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters during a news conference Monday evening that an 11th victim was found after a 10th was found earlier in the morning as crews started their fifth day combing through the rubble of the Surfside disaster site.


About 136 people were accounted for following the collapse.

"These numbers are very fluid, and they will continue to change," she said.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Ray Jadallah said Monday the search effort was not yet transitioning into recovery mode.

"We're just not there yet," he said.

Crews worked through the weekend to search the debris of the 12-story Champlain Towers building north of Miami Beach.


Part of the building's east wing collapsed early Thursday and emergency personnel have been continually working at the scene since.

Officials said Sunday night they have identified eight of the dead -- Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Luis Bermudez, 26; Anna Ortiz, 46; Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74; Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79; and Manuel "Manny" LaFont, 54.

Sophia Lopez Moreira, the sister of Paraguayan first lady Silvana Lopez Moreira, is among six Paraguayans listed as missing. Other South American and Jewish nationals are also on the missing list.

Families of the missing have expressed frustration at the pace of rescue efforts, which have been complicated by fires and a need to carefully remove debris to prevent further collapse.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky has said robots, dogs, drones, sonar technology, cameras and numerous teams -- including personnel from Mexico and Israel -- are involved in the search.

A cause of the collapse has not been determined, but local engineers reported structural damage to the condo building in 2018, including evidence of flooding, cracking and corrosion. The building was constructed in 1981,

In an Oct. 8, 2018, structural field survey report, Frank Morabito, president of Morabito Consultants Inc., detailed $9.1 million in needed repairs to the building, including addressing "major structural damage" to the concrete structural slab beneath the pool deck and entrance drive. He warned that concrete deterioration would "expand exponentially" unless the waterproofing was replaced "in the near future."


Morabito also described "signs of stress/fatigue" in the parking garage, noting that "abundant cracking and spalling of varying degrees was observed in the concrete columns, beams, and walls." This damage included areas where rebar was exposed and deteriorating.

"Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion," Morabito wrote.

The report also detailed repairs to balconies and sliding doors needed to prevent interior flooding and repair damage.

NPR reported this weekend it obtained minutes of a meeting in November 2018 between a Surfside town inspector and residents of the building in which he assured them the building was "in very good shape."

Tina Paul, vice mayor of Surfside, told CNN Monday the field survey report "reads like a standard inspection report."

"You have to realize these buildings are old. It depends on the maintenance, it depends on when they were built and it depends on the level of maintenance they've been doing," Paul said. "A building like that should not collapse in this sort of way, based on routine maintenance."

At the time of Thursday's collapse, the building was up for its 40-year recertification and was undergoing renovation work on its roof, officials said. Additional renovations were also planned.


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