President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Surfside, Florida, Thursday — to visit the scene of the condo building collapse that has left at least 18 people dead and 145 still missing.
After touching down in Miami, the Bidens will meet with Gov. Ron DeSantis and other local leaders for a command briefing on the situation before going to see the wreckage for themselves.
While there, the first couple will meet first responders and other rescue workers on the scene.
In the afternoon, Biden and the first lady will meet privately with families of victims.
Asked about the president’s plans on Tuesday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters that the Bidens “want to thank the heroic first responders, search and rescue teams, and everyone who has been working tirelessly around the clock.”
She added they will also “meet with the families who have been forced to endure this terrible tragedy waiting in anguish and heartbreak for word of their loved ones, to offer them comfort as search and rescue efforts continue.”
“And they want to make sure that state and local officials have the resources and support they need under the emergency declaration,” Psaki said.
The president is scheduled to deliver remarks after touring the heartbreaking scene in the afternoon.
The 12-story Champlain Towers South tower in Surfside, Fla., collapsed at 1:30 a.m. last Thursday as residents slept.
Emergency crews are still working to find potential survivors in the rubble as the grueling search and rescue effort heads into its eighth day.
The beachfront building was built in 1981 and is believed to have collapsed due to “major structural damage.”
A 2018 engineer’s report flagged the structural issues along a pool deck above a parking garage at the site — but the condo association only recently began work on a $15 million repair project to address the problem.
In April, the head of the condo association warned tenants that the problems highlighted in the 2018 report had gotten “significantly worse.”