The search for the survivors of the building that collapsed in Florida last week was suspended on Thursday (1), due to the risk of an accident in the rubble. So far, there are 18 confirmed deaths, including two children aged four and ten. 145 other people are still missing and could be buried.
Rescuers were ordered to stop the search at dawn Thursday, after movements in the rubble raised fears that the part of the building still standing could also collapse. Operations will resume as soon as it is safe to do so.
This Thursday, President Joe Biden traveled to Miami to offer his condolences to the relatives of the victims and to meet with local authorities. He is due to make a speech in the afternoon. The White House has ordered the dispatch of resources and federal agents to help with the search.
The drama took place in Surfside, a town near Miami Beach. The 12-story building of the Champlain South Towers collapsed in the early hours of June 24. The building, built 40 years ago, had 136 apartments, 55 of which collapsed. The causes are under investigation. In 2018, a report by an engineering company highlighted several structural flaws in the construction.
Authorities have said they are still aiming to find survivors, but the odds are dwindling as the days go by. No one has been pulled alive from the rubble since the day of the accident.
So far, over 1,400 tonnes of concrete have been removed. The teams reached an underground parking lot, where it was hoped that some people could have been trapped inside the cars, but no one was found.
A five-year-old Brazilian child and her father, the Italian Alfredo Leone, are among the missing, along with some 30 other Latin Americans from Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela. Brazilian Erick de Moura, 40, lived in the building, but escaped as he ended up sleeping at his girlfriend’s house the night of the accident.