SURFSIDE, FLA. (WSVN) - Rescuers have found six additional victims at the site of a partial collapse of a condominium building in Surfside.
Thursday night, officials Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced that another body four bodies had been found in the rubble overnight. By Wednesday evening, crews had found two more bodies. The discoveries bring the total number of dead to 18.
Cava also said that two of the victims found were children, aged 4 and 10.
“Any loss of life, especially, given the unexpected, unprecedented nature of this event, is a tragedy, but the loss of our children is too great to bear,” she said.
Miami-Dade Police have since identified the children as sisters Emma Guara, 4, and Lucia Guara, 10.
Their mother, 42-year-old Anaely Rodriguez, was also among the six recovered on Wednesday.
The sisters’ father, 52-year-old Marcus Guara, was located over the weekend.
“Our community, our nation and the world, we are all mourning with these families who have lost loved ones,” said Cava.
Thursday night, one of the recovered victims was identified as 80-year-old Magaly Elena Delgado.
Officials confirmed 145 people have not been accounted for while 139 people have been accounted for.
Col. Golan Vach, the commander of the Israeli National Rescue Unit, spoke on the discovery earlier Wednesday morning.
“We found people. Unfortunately, they are not alive,” Vach said. “We found some more tunnels, and we strolled at night in those tunnels. On one hand, there are new spaces that we find, and on the other, we found more people, but unfortunately, not alive.”
Vach also said the tunnels in the rubble of the collapsed site differs from what they have encountered so far.
“These tunnels that we found right now were almost the first to be big enough to enable people to stay between them,” Vach said. “Most of that collapse is very, very tight. The collapse was major.”
Miami-Dade Police have identified 16 of the victims so far:
- 54-year-old Stacie Fang
- 54-year-old Manuel Lafont
- 83-year-old Antonio Lozano
- 79-year-old Gladys Lozano
- 80-year-old Leon Oliwkowicz
- 26-year-old Luis Bermudez
- 46-year-old Anna Ortiz
- 74-year-old Christina Beatriz Elvira
- 55-year-old Frank Kleiman
- 52-year-old Marcus Guara
- 50-year-old Michael Altman
- 92-year-old Hilda Noriega
- 21-year-old Andreas Giannitsopoulos
- 42-year-old Anaely Rodriguez
- 4-year-old Emma Guara
- 10-year-old Lucia Guara
Noriega’s family released a statement Wednesday morning announcing her death that reads:
“It’s been tough. I just want to emphasize that,” said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky. “It’s been tough.
Rescuers could be seen shoveling debris into buckets and cutting through metal during their search on Tuesday.
WATCH: State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis Wednesday morning interview:
Rescue teams have brought heavy equipment deeper into the rubble to aid in their search.
“They have actually built a ramp overnight to be able to get the heavy equipment down next to the pool,” State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis said. “This is incredibly dangerous because the building is still so unstable. Now you’re able to leverage massive equipment to remove massive pieces of concrete that could lead to those incredible good news events.”
Capt. Eddy Alarcon, who is part of Florida Task Force 1, explained how difficult the search in the rubble has been for rescuers.
“It’s hard not to get emotional about this stuff,” Alarcon said. “It’s hard not to put yourself in that situation, not to put yourself in the position that these families are in. We start thinking about it in that way, and that ‘What would I do? How hard are we going to work to save our family members if something like this were to happen?'”
At times, rain slowed down rescue crews, and their health is being monitored.
Hundreds of rescue workers are rotating in 12-hour shifts.
“Their feet are covered in blisters,” Patronis said. “Their hands are covered in cuts. They’re blowing through gloves. They’re blowing through boots. We’re replenishing just as quick. We had a boot dealer on site taking measurements to give them brand-new boots because the conditions they’re working under are not like any hurricane they’ve ever been in.”
One first responder who appeared to be dehydrated was taken to the hospital and is doing OK.
Miami-Dade Police Director Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez was photographed speaking with rescuers during his visit to the site on Wednesday.
Several cars have been towed from the rubble, along with more debris.
A video posted to TikTok showed the condo building moments before the collapse as water poured into the garage from a possible busted pipe.
A National Construction Safety Team has been created to investigate the collapse.
“This will be a fact-finding, not fault-finding technical investigation,” said National Institute of Standards and Technology Director James Olthoff. “It will take time, possibly a couple of years, but we will not stop until we have determined the likely cause of this tragedy.”
The team is experienced and has studied similar disasters and failures including the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center buildings and Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico.
“What our experts learn from these events lead to better building codes, standards and practices,” said Olthoff.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will visit Surfside on Thursday.
Emergency teams are currently monitoring a system in the Atlantic.
“At this time, impacts to Florida from this system are not expected through Saturday,” said Florida Dept. of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie.
Miami-Dade Police detectives are asking for the community’s help. Anyone who was at the site the morning of the collapse and has pictures or videos is asked to call the Surfside Collapse Witness Tip line at 305-428-4417 between the hours of 8 a.m. to 1 a.m.
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