“We noticed the stress, the force of the pressure of the walls and the floors just pretty much… sustained no chance of life,” Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told victims’ family members on Wednesday, according to the Associated Press. He added that, given the low likelihood of finding additional survivors, the search-and-rescue operation will shift focus to locating remains.
Our sole responsibility at this point is to bring closure.
Eighty-six people remain missing after the collapse of the 12-storey Miami-area condo building on June 24, while the death toll rose to 54 on Wednesday after eight more victims were pulled from the rubble. No survivors have been found since the early hours of the rescue mission.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava also addressed a press conference later on Wednesday, saying a “extremely difficult decision” was made to halt the rescue effort, which will officially switch to a recovery mission at midnight.
Parts of the condo left standing were demolished on Sunday, allowing emergency workers to access new areas and raising hopes that additional survivors would be found. While open pockets were discovered near the basement and parking garage, rescuers found only bodies, recovering more than a dozen victims
A grand jury has agreed to probe the collapse, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle announced on Wednesday, adding that the investigation would “look into how we can prevent such a disaster from occurring again.”
According to the New York Times, a consultant hired to inspect the condominium complex in 2018 found signs of “major structural damage” and “abundant” deterioration of the building’s support columns. While his recommendations spurred a costly repair project, it had yet to begin when the building gave way last month.
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