Death Toll Rises, Recovery Efforts Briefly Halted At Collapsed Miami Condo

By Jason Hall

July 10, 2021

Residential Building In Miami Partially Collapsed
Photo: Getty Images

The death toll from the Surfside, Florida condominium collapse is currently at 86 as of Saturday (July 10) morning.

Florida Fire Marshall and Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis confirmed the rise in total casualties at the site of the Champlain Towers South condominium -- which experienced a partial collapse on June 24 -- to CNN.

Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed crews paused briefly on Saturday morning due to lightning, but resumed recovery efforts within an hour and are expected to continue throughout the day despite rain being forecasted in the area, the mayor confirmed.

Patronis said search teams have been able to recover victims more quickly since the portion of the tower that remained standing was demolished and no longer a threat to collapse.

On Monday (July 5), the death toll was at 28, one day after the standing portion was demolished.

Mayor Levine Cava confirmed 62 of the 86 victims were identified and 61 next of kin were notified, while 211 are now accounted for and 43 remain potentially unaccounted for.

The mayor said authorities have been cross references names from a list of residents with U.S. Postal Service and driver's license information to identify the deceased individuals.

"We can only truly account for a missing person who is deceased once an identification is made," Levine Cava said.

The Surfside condo was built in 1982 and going through its 40-year recertification prior to its collapse last month, requiring an engineer to ensure the building's structural and electrical safety, often leading to the need for costly repairs.

A structural field survey report conducted by an engineer in October 2018 revealed evidence of "major structural damage" to the concrete slab below the pool deck and "abundant" cracking and crumbling of the columns, beams and walls of the parking garage under the building, the New York Times reports.

The field survey led to plans for a multimillion-dollar repair project that was scheduled to begin soon -- more than two and a half years after the building managers received a warning -- prior to the collapse.

The complex's management association had disclosed some of the problems following the incident on Thursday, but the full nature of the concrete and rebar damage was not made public until the 2018 report was released by city officials on June 25.

“Though some of this damage is minor, most of the concrete deterioration needs to be repaired in a timely fashion,” the consultant, Frank Morabito, wrote about damage to the building in the 2018 report.

Morabito didn't give any indication that the structure was at risk of collapse, but did note that it needed repairs in order to maintain "the structural integrity" of the building and its 136 condos.

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