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Death toll from South Florida condo tower collapse rises to 64

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

July 8 (UPI) -- The death toll from a South Florida condo tower that collapsed two weeks ago rose to 64 on Thursday after searchers found the remains of another 10 people, officials said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava declared the 64 confirmed deaths after crews recovered six bodies overnight and four more recoveries were announced Thursday evening.

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A total of 76 people remain "potentially unaccounted for" and 200 people have been accounted for.

Miami-Dade police identified five additional victims including Juan Alberto Mora Jr., 32; Andrea Cattarossi, 56; Ruslan Manashirov, 36; Harold Rosenberg, 52; and Gloria Machado, 71.

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Forty of the 64 victims have been identified and 39 families have been notified, Levine Cava said.

Emergency workers shifted from search and rescue operations Wednesday to recovery, believing no more survivors will be found.

Levine Cava said Thursday's recovery efforts were proceeding "just as rapidly with just as many people on the pile" with authorities taking "as much care as ever" to recover victims.

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"We are working around the clock to recover victims and to bring closure to the families as fast as we possibly can," she said.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said authorities are still "praying for a miracle."

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"We haven't given up all hope," he said.

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Levine Cava told reporters Thursday that rabbis are working with searchers to ensure that any bodies found in the debris are treated with respect according to the religion. Of Surfside's 6,000 residents, nearly half are Jewish.

"Every victim that we recover is handled with extreme care and compassion," she said during a morning news conference.

"We have a tent designated on site and when a Jewish body is discovered a prayer is performed and specific protocols are followed to honor both the faith-based traditions and the integrity of the investigation."

Workers at the site paused for a moment of silence at 1:20 a.m. Thursday, exactly two weeks after one wing of the Champlain Towers South condo collapsed.

Levine Cava said workers are also collecting and safeguarding valuables found in the debris of the building, such as wallets, jewelry and cellphones. Families of the victims and survivors will be able to make reports to claim lost items.

Officials said they believe they have reached as deep as the fourth level of the building so far in their search.

Meanwhile, North Miami Beach officials said a different condo building that was evacuated last week has been deemed unsafe and must remain unoccupied for now. That building is about 5 miles from the debris of the Champlain Towers South.

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City officials evacuated some 300 residents from the building a week ago and they won't be allowed to return until the condo association submits a new report addressing structural problems, WPLG-TV reported.

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