Death toll rises to 54 as efforts at Florida condo collapse shifts from rescue to recovery operation

Emergency workers shifted efforts at the site of the Surfside condominium tower collapse in Florida from rescue to recovery, following an increase in the death toll on Wednesday with 18 more victims discovered. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference Wednesday evening that it was an “extremely difficult decision” to halt the rescue efforts after two weeks of searching as the death toll rose to 54, adding, “at this point, we have truly exhausted every option available to us in the search and rescue mission.”

Officials announced Wednesday morning that 10 additional bodies had been discovered with eight more found by the evening and as many as 94 people unaccounted for and believed to be lost in the debris of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Fla. Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Ray Jadallah held a private briefing with families Wednesday afternoon where he informed them rescue dogs and sound devices would be removed but emergency crews would continue to search the rubble for the remains of their relatives. A group of more than 200 rescuers has been working almost continuously to find victims and survivors since the building partially collapsed on June 24, but crews said they were seeing no signs of survivors.

Editorial credit: Fernando Medina / Shutterstock.com


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