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Champlain Towers South Condo Collapse: What We Know So Far

By Mª del Rosario Castro Díaz

Champlain Towers South Condo Collapse: What We Know So Far

As the search and rescue mission carries on its fifth day, this is what we know so far.

First responders continue to work around the clock in their mission to find the missing residents under the rubble. As of the time of writing officials have now confirmed that there have been nine deaths due to the collapse, 134 residents are now accounted for and 152 remain missing.

UPDATE: During a press briefing on Monday morning, June 28, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed authorities were able to recover one additional body, bringing the death count up to 10. There are now 135 residents accounted for and 151 still missing.

Miami Dade Fire Rescue and Miami Dade Police department teams continue to work 24/7 with the aid of heavy machinery and engineering experts to help cut through the heaping pile of twisted steel and concrete. The local search and rescue teams have also been joined on site by FEMA units and a group of Israeli Defence Forces experts sent by the Israeli government last Friday to assist in the process.  Additionally, it is also reported that a structural engineering expert who has worked on other disaster sites such as 9/11 has also been recruited to assess the situation.

Volunteer Florida is also on-site and continues to coordinate the outpouring of donations that has been made by the local community.

Over the weekend, the search teams were able to recover 4 additional bodies along with “additional human remains” in a trench dug into the debris to speed up and facilitate the work of rescuers according to  Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Authorities released their identities late Sunday night. The residents include Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, who lived in unit 704; Luis Bermúdez, 26, who lived on the seventh floor; Ana Ortiz, 46, Bermúdez’s mother; and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74, who was found on Sunday.

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The first victim, Stacie Fang,54, from apartment 1002, was identified as the first victim of the collapse on Friday. Three more victims —  Anthony Lozano, 83, and Gladys Lozano 79, who lived in apartment 903, and Manuel LaFont, 54, from apartment 801 — were identified on Saturday night.

Also on Sunday afternoon, the families of the victims were allowed to visit the wreckage site. After days of pleading with officials, the grieving families were transported from the Grand Beach Hotel to Champlain Towers, now an active search-and-rescue site, on Miami-Dade County buses to mourn and pray in private away from the eyes of the media.

In other news, traffic closures also continue to affect the area with Harding Avenue, remaining closed to cars and foot traffic from 83rd to 96th streets. Byron Avenue, two blocks west of Harding Avenue, is closed from 85th to 90th streets, except for residents of the area. Meanwhile, police blocked pedestrians on Collins at 91st Street, in front of the Four Seasons Residences at Surfside, on Sunday night. Only residents living on the street in one of the oceanfront high-rises or boutique buildings could pass. You can see the full list of closures here.

This is a developing story, updates will be provided as they become available. 

See also: How To Help In The Aftermath Of The Surfside Condo Collapse

[Featured image: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue / AFP]