July 26, 2021

the chances of finding survivors “close to zero”

A body was found Monday, July 5, in the rubble of the collapsed building in Florida, bringing the death toll to 28, authorities said, and the search continues even though the chances of finding survivors are “Close to zero”, according to an official.

Most of the building, named Champlain Towers South, collapsed in the middle of the night on June 24 in Surfside, causing one of the most serious urban disasters in US history. With the approach of the storm Elsa and the strong winds that it could bring with it, the authorities had chosen to bring down what remained of the building, considered too unstable.

The controlled destruction took place late Sunday and proceeded “Exactly as expected”Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine said at a press conference. “From 1 hour [7 heures du matin à Paris], the research had fully resumed “ and they could be carried out in previously inaccessible areas, she added.

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She later announced that an additional body had been found. Hours earlier, the bodies of three victims had been discovered.

“Optimistic, but also realistic”

Eleven days after the collapse, 117 people are still missing and the chances of finding survivors are “Close to zero”, admitted Golan Vach, an expert who heads one of the Israeli research teams, interviewed by the Local 10 channel. “We try to be optimistic, but also realistic”, he added. “The circumstances we have seen are too difficult to say, in a professional manner, that we think we have a good chance of finding someone alive”, said Mr. Vach.

Only one survivor – a teenager – was extracted from the rubble in the early hours of relief operations. No other survivor was found despite the mobilization of rescuers, who came from all over the United States, and even from Israel and Mexico. Among those missing were dozens of Latin Americans from Argentina, Colombia, Paraguay, Chile and Uruguay.

Read also Building collapse in Florida: in letter, residents worried about the dilapidated building

The collapse still remains largely unexplained, although there are questions about the maintenance and structure of the building, construction work nearby and rising waters. As early as 2018, a report noted “Major structural damage” as well as « fissures » in the basement of the building, according to documents released by the Town of Surfside.

The World with AFP