The number of confirmed dead at the site of a collapsed Florida condo building spiked to 46 overnight, with rescue workers pulling 10 more bodies from the rubble.
“Thirty-two of these victims have been identified and next of kin notifications have been made,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a morning briefing.
“As of this time, 200 people have been accounted for and 94 are unaccounted for,” added Cava, who wept during the briefing.
Hundreds of rescue workers continue to painstakingly sift through the pile of concrete and debris, with Sunday’s demolition of the remaining building expanding the search at the site.
“Our first responders have truly searched that pile every single day since the collapse as if they’re searching for their own loved ones,” Cava said.
Crews on Tuesday worked through high winds and pelting rain from incoming Tropical Storm Elsa, which made landfall west of the site Wednesday but nonetheless brought foul weather to Surfside.
Meanwhile, officials continue to classify the operation as a search-and-rescue mission, which means the work is primarily geared to find survivors — despite greatly diminished chances.
On Monday, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky was asked if there was discussion to classify the operation as a recovery mission, meaning a search for bodies.
Cominsky said authorities are “having different dialogues,” but conceded that crews on the pile have not found “livable spaces” where survivors might be found.
The 12-story tower collapsed shortly before 1:30 a.m. June 24, burying nearly 150 people under tons of concrete.
Officials said Tuesday that more than 5 million pounds of concrete and debris have been pulled from the pile since work began, but no survivors have been found since the day of the deadly collapse.