The official death toll from the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Florida, has now risen to 24 as more victims from the tragic incident have been found.
On Saturday morning, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that two more victims were pulled from the scene of the incident on Friday night.
“The number of confirmed victims now stands at 24,” Levine Cava said in a press conference. “… The numbers are fluid and will continue to change.”
There are now 188 people accounted for and 124 unaccounted for as rescue efforts continue to move forward.
During the press conference, it was also revealed that the remainder of the condominium building will be demolished, with Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett stating that it could be taken down “as early as [Sunday].”
“The fear was that the hurricane may take down the building for us, and take it down in the wrong direction, on top of the pile where we have victims,” Burkett said, referring to a potential threat from Tropical Storm Elsa, which could potentially hit Florida early next week.
Burkett celebrated Levine Cava for her “decisive leadership” with the forthcoming demolition plans, as Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said officials are finalizing the plan to take down the rest of the Champlain Towers South.
Demolition of the building, Burkett said, “will allow our rescue workers to pour all over the entire site without fear of any danger from falling debris or falling buildings.”
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis also spoke during the public press conference, where he said that the state will fully pay to demolish the building.
DeSantis said he supports the building’s demolition, calling it “the prudent thing to do,” as Tropical Storm Elsa potentially makes its way towards the southern state.
The politician said that Florida Division of Emergency Management Director Kevin Guthrie told him that demolition on the condominium building could be done within 36 hours so that it would include “minimal work stoppage” for those search and rescue teams currently at the site.
“If the building is taken down, this will protect our search and rescue teams because we don’t know when it could fall over, and of course, with these gusts, potentially, that would create a really severe hazard,” DeSantis said. “Our mission is to expedite it as soon as possible.”
At this point we pray everyone gets accounted for so that families can begin to process and heal.