A worker waits to load his truck with rubble from the rubble of the Champlain Towers South building as removal and salvage work continues on the site of the partially collapsed condominium building on Wednesday, July 14, 2021, in Surfside, Florida.
Lynne Candy AP
The number of confirmed deaths from a condo collapse in Surfside, Florida rose to 97, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said late Wednesday.
90 victims have been identified and 88 families have been notified, Levine Cava added. At least a dozen people remain missing during the rescue operations.
“Please keep all the mourners in your hearts and prayers,” Levine Cava said in a tweet on Wednesday.
Earlier that day, a Florida judge approved the sale of the land that once stood the Champlain Towers South before it collapsed in the wee hours of June 24, NBC 6 South Florida reported Wednesday.
The proceeds are said to benefit hundreds of victims of the disaster, with the sale expected to raise $ 100 to $ 110 million, according to court records from NBC 6 South Florida.
First responders have entered the third week of a laborious search for more bodies in the rubble of the collapse.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett announced Tuesday that the salvage operation was nearing completion a week after he said the possibility of finding anyone alive after the collapse was “near zero”. The authorities hope to complete their efforts in the coming weeks.
“Twenty days after this unthinkable tragedy, I couldn’t be more proud of the extraordinary efforts of our partners at all levels – local, state or federal partners – they have responded in so many ways,” Levine Cava said at a news conference Tuesday.
“And they were at the core of families’ recovery, they continued to take care of the families and the survivors,” she said.
Authorities are continuing to investigate the cause of the Champlain Towers South collapse.
Teams from the National Institute of Standards and Technology are running tests on pieces of concrete from the construction site and evaluating the remains of the structure to determine what factors may have contributed to the disaster.
A 2018 report showed the condominium had significant structural problems, with waterproofing problems under the pool and cracks in the underground car park. Experts have also said the repeal of a law in Florida in 2010 that required condos to schedule repairs could have been another contributing factor.
The collapse has also led to reviews of other buildings in the Miami-Dade district.
Burkett said Monday that inspections of Champlain Towers North, the identical sister property of the collapsed housing estate, have produced positive results. The latest tests show that the concrete strength is “very good”.
However, the inspection results for a Miami Beach apartment building were not as positive.
Authorities evacuated the 82-year-old home on Monday due to concrete damage, NBC News reported Monday.