US: Death toll rises to 9 as more bodies found in Florida building collapse
Washington, June 28, 2021
The death toll in the partial collapse of a 12-storeyed residential building in the beachside town of Surfside in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida, has risen to nine as more bodies were found overnight in ongoing search and rescue, authorities said on Sunday.
"As of today, one victim passed away in the hospital, and we've recovered eight victims on-site, so I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
Four of the victims have been identified, she added.
The mayor had said yesterday 130 of the residents of the building had been accounted for and 156 unaccounted for.
"Our top priority continues to be search and rescue and saving any lives that we can," she added. Fire and smoke deep within the mountain of rubble hampered search efforts through Saturday.
The Champlain Towers South condominium, built in 1981, partially collapsed around 1:30 a.m. local time (about 0530 GMT) on Thursday in Surfside, around 9.6 km north of Miami Beach.
About 70 of the condo's 130 apartments were destroyed or damaged, according to Frank Rollason, director of Miami-Dade Emergency Management.
A media report said that nearly three years before the collapse, a structural field survey found that there was "major structural damage" to the concrete slab below the pool deck and "cracking and spalling" in the parking garage.
"The waterproofing below the pool deck and Entrance Drive as well as all of the planter waterproofing is beyond its useful life and therefore must all be completely removed and replaced," the October 2018 report read.
"The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially," it warned.
The survey also noted that "many of the previous garage concrete repairs" were "failing."
The first lawsuit, seeking $5 million in damages for the victims of the condo collapse, was filed late on Thursday.