Dozens of people remain unaware as the investigation into what caused the fall of the South Champlain Towers continues.
The official death toll from the partial collapse of a 12-story building in South Florida continues to rise, as authorities said Saturday that emergency workers had recovered seven more bodies from the rubble.
The death toll from the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, last month has now reached 86, while 43 people are still listed as missing.
“It’s an amazing and heartbreaking number that affects all of us very, very deeply,” said Daniella Levine Cava, Miami-Dade County Mayor.
Levine Cava told reporters that 62 of the bodies recovered so far have been identified as part of what she described as “the largest hurricane-free emergency response effort in Florida history.” .
After clinging to hope for two weeks after the June 24 crash, authorities have finally finished the salvage part of their work to focus on the search for remains.
Rescue workers and emergency support teams from Florida and several other states worked 12-hour shifts, 24 hours a day for 16 days in physically and emotionally overwhelming work amid the oppressive heat and in dangerous conditions.
The hope of finding survivors was revived shortly after workers demolished the rest of the building on July 4, allowing access to new areas of debris. Some spaces where survivors could be trapped existed, especially in the basement and garage.
As workers continue to wander among the rubble, questions continue to revolve around what caused the tower to fall.
Investigators have not determined what caused the Champlain Towers South to collapse without warning, but attention has been focused on a 2018 engineering report that warned of structural deficiencies.
Meanwhile, a debate has begun among affected community members over what to do with the site where Champlain Towers South once stood, with lawyers for some members of the victims ’family suggesting it should be a memorial for the dead.