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Four additional victims found Thursday evening in Surfside, death toll up to 64

Building Collapse Surfside
Posted at 6:23 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 18:04:45-04

Four additional victims were recovered Thursday evening from the rubble of a collapsed condo tower in Surfside, Florida, bringing the death toll from the tragedy to 64.

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Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said 40 of the victims have been positively identified. She added that 200 people have been accounted for and 76 victims are still missing.

Levine Cava said those still missing were presumed to be in the building at the time of the collapse.

The announcement on Thursday came two weeks to the day when the Champlain Towers South spontaneously crumbled to the ground. Levine Cava added that recovery efforts were briefly paused at around 1 a.m. ET time to commemorate the two-week anniversary.

During the evening presser, Levine Cava said some families visited the site in Surfside on Thursday where rescue crews held a brief moment of silence to honor the victims and families.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said fire officials reassured families separately they won’t stop until all victims are found.

Levine Cava added that if you have photos or videos related to the Surfside building collapse, the NIST, which is the federal agency investigating the collapse, has provided a portal for those to submit images.

Thursday's morning presser was the first officials had held since rescue efforts transitioned to recovery efforts after it was determined that it would be impossible to find any survivors remaining in the rubble.

"At this point, we have truly exhausted every option available to us in the search and rescue mission," Levine Cava said Wednesday.

First responders have not found any survivors at the site since the day of the collapse on June 24. Officials have described the debris pile as a "pancake," meaning they've found few if any, pockets in the rubble where a person would be able to survive.

"Fourteen days of looking for voids. That's what we've been doing. Dear God, give us a void (big enough for someone to be in)," Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said during a press conference Wednesday.

Levine Cava said Thursday that despite the transition, first responders are still searching the pile with the same "speed and urgency" as they had before.

"The men and women are still there. The support is still there," Jadallah said Wednesday, explaining what he told the families of those still missing that just because the "word has changed," the work continues, and they "will not be forgotten." He said the goal is to "find every victim in that pile."

The names of 32 victims have been made public. They are:

  • Hilda Noriega, 92
  • Gino Cattarossi, 89
  • Graciela Cattarossi, 86
  • Claudio Bonnefoy, 85
  • Antonio Lozano, 83
  • Gonzalo Torre, 81
  • Magaly Elena Delgado, 80
  • Leon Oliwkowicz, 80
  • Simon Segal, 89
  • Gladys Lozano, 79
  • Nancy Kress Levin, 76
  • Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74
  • Elaine Lia Sabino, 71
  • Maria Obias-Bonnefoy, 69
  • Tzvi Ainsworth, 68
  • Francis Fernandez, 67
  • Ingrid Ainsworth, 66
  • David Epstein, 58
  • Bonnie Epstein, 56
  • Frank Kleiman, 55
  • Staci Dawn Fang, 54
  • Manuel LaFont, 54
  • Marcus Joseph Guara, 52
  • Jay Kleiman, 52
  • Michael David Altman, 50
  • Graciela Cattarossi, 48
  • 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. That girl's name has not been made public at the request of the family.

The shift to recovery mode comes just days after officials brought down a portion of the tower that remained standing in a controlled implosion. Officials have said the demolition of the building has opened new avenues for first responders to search and has expedited efforts.

Search efforts have also sped up in recent days due to the departure of Tropical Storm Elsa. While the system did not pass directly over the Miami area, it still brought heavy rainfall and some lightning to the area, prompting a handful of short work stoppages.