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152 still unaccounted for in Florida building collapse, Miami-Dade County mayor says

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Search for survivors of collapsed condo in Florida
Search for survivors of collapsed condo in Fl... 03:07

Follow Monday's updates here

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday evening that the death toll in the Surfside building collapse stood at nine. Four more bodies were found and identified, while 152 people remained unaccounted for. She said 134 people had been accounted for, although no one has been pulled alive from the rubble since Thursday, the day of collapse.

Sunday marked another day of searching through the treacherous debris. Levine Cava said family members were allowed to visit the site to watch the rescue efforts and pay their respects. 

"We are cutting a deep trench to assist us. It is now 125 feet in length into the pile. It is 20 feet wide and 40 feet deep," Levine Cava said. "This trench is very critical to the continuation of the search and rescue process."

As details of the building's possible preexisting conditions emerged Sunday, a lawyer confirmed to CBS News that a Surfside official had told the building's residents in 2018 that "it appears the building is in very good shape."

On Saturday, the city of Surfside released an engineering report from 2018 that warned that the building had major structural worries. It is unclear if any of the issues in the report — from Morabito Consultants — caused the collapse, and it didn't warn of imminent danger, although it said repairs were needed.

Waterproofing failed under the pool deck and wasn't properly laid, so water didn't drain, the report said. "The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially," it said.

It also said there was "abundant cracking" in concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage. The consultant estimated that the repairs needed to address the building's structural issues would have cost more than $9 million.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

Biden calls FEMA administrator, thanks "heroic first responders"

President Biden on Sunday called FEMA Administrator Deanne Criswell to recap her firsthand visit to the site of the condo collapse on Sunday. He said what she described there was "excruciating," according to a White House press statement.

"I am grateful for the heroic first responders, search and rescue teams, and all FEMA, state, county, local, and volunteer personnel who are working around the clock to try to save lives and for those who are dedicated to helping survivors with many needs, including temporary housing," Mr. Biden said, according to the statement. "We will continue to coordinate closely with officials on the ground throughout this terrible ordeal and my administration is ready to provide any support or assistance that is needed."

"For those who are waiting in anguish for word of their loved ones as search and rescue efforts continue in the aftermath of this catastrophic incident, the pain of the uncertainty is an added, heartbreaking burden. My heart goes out to every single person suffering during this awful moment," Mr. Biden said.

 

Additional 4 victims identified, Miami-Dade County mayor says

Florida officials give update on search 29:26

An additional four victims have been identified in the building collapse search, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday at a press conference. So far, 134 people have been accounted for and 152 remain unaccounted for, Levine Cava said.

Families of victims will be notified first and it will then be up to them should their names be released, the mayor said. Families were allowed to visit the building collapse site privately on Sunday to grieve.

Detectives have not been able to reach some families with missing loved ones and Levine Cava called for anyone with missing victims to file police reports.

She said that $1.2 million has been donated for those impacted so far.

Search and rescue efforts are still continuing.

By Tori B. Powell
 

Centralized alert system created for families of Surfside residents

Officials announced the creation of a centralized alert system to provide updates and access to resources for families and individuals who have been displaced, CBS Miami reports.

The alert system was created in conjunction with Miami-Dade County and the town of Surfside.

Officials said individuals can register for alerts by visiting www.SurfsideReunite.com or by calling the toll-free number (833) 930-3701.

Agents will contact individuals who have registered with the alert system.

 

Miami Beach declares a state of emergency

The neighboring city of Miami Beach declared a state of emergency on Sunday, CBS Miami reports. The state of emergency follows a federal emergency declaration by President Biden and similar emergency declarations by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

"A significant portion of the staging for the emergency response efforts is taking place within Miami Beach, including use of city streets, property and other facilities for search and rescue command centers, the use of city parking lots for personnel and equipment, and the use of city property to support the significant media presence on the scene of this national tragedy," according to the city's statement.

Due to the Champlain Towers South's close proximity to Miami Beach, the city has temporarily closed North Beach Oceanside Park and canceled, or moved events north of 63rd Street, including at the North Beach Bandshell.

 

Federal agency investigating Florida building collapse

Federal agency investigating Florida building... 09:31

Experts from a little-known federal agency are in Florida looking at the massive building collapse in Surfside. The National Institute of Standards and Technology is trying to determine whether a full-blown investigation is needed. Structural engineer Kit Miyamoto joins CBSN's Lana Zak to discuss the costly structural damage.

 

Surfside official said building was in "good shape" in 2018, lawyer confirms

A lawyer for the Champlain Towers South Condo Association confirmed to CBS News that a building official from the town of Surfside told residents, "It appears the building is in very good shape" at a November 15, 2018, board meeting.

The meeting occurred a month after an engineer, who was hired to do an inspection by the association, found "major structural damage."

NPR first reported on the Surfside official's comments. 

By Michael Kaplan
 

Rubio says first responders are "desperately working" to find survivors

Rubio: First responders "desperately working"... 16:22

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said Sunday that rescue crews are "desperately working" to find survivors in the rubble of the collapsed condo building and said the scene has changed drastically in the days since the tower fell.

"The searchers are desperately working on this very complex," Rubio said in an interview with CBS News' "Face the Nation." "It's 12 stories. If you look at it from the north side of it, you can literally see the layers. And then inside of there, there's everything from toxic chemicals, fire, smoke, all kinds of other hazards and they have to be very careful. If they move one piece of rebar here, the rest of the pile could collapse somewhere else and either hurt the responders or hurt any survivors that might still be down there."

Many of the residents of the Champlain Towers South condominium are foreign nationals, and Rubio said the State Department is on the site to speed up the process for relatives overseas to secure emergency visas.

In addition to rescue crews, the Florida senator said the Army Corps of Engineers has also sent engineers to the area to conduct a preliminary assessment of buildings alongside the collapsed tower to ensure there is no additional damage. 

Responders on the scene, he said, are "still very much in rescue mode."

"They are very much intent on saving lives still," Rubio said. "And they obviously understand every day gets more difficult. And that to me was very important and that came across clearly."

Rubio said he has "little doubt" officials will be able to determine the cause of the collapse and make changes to building codes to prevent such a devastating event from occurring again. While at this moment the cause of the collapse is unclear, Rubio would not rule anything out.

"Obviously everything needs to be on the table," he said. "Whatever the cause was, whatever contributed to it, we need to know it. And I don't think we should be in a position now ruling anything out because we just don't know."

By Melissa Quinn
 

Miami-Dade mayor says death toll stands at 9

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the death toll from the building collapse has risen to nine as search and rescue efforts continue.

She said one victim had died in the hospital, while workers had pulled more bodies from the wreckage since yesterday.

Scores of rescue workers remained on the massive pile of rubble, working to find survivors among the more than 150 people who remain unaccounted for.

"We were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble as well as additional human remains. As of today, one victim passed away in the hospital, and we've recovered eight ... victims on site," she said. "So, I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine. We've identified four of the victims and notified the next of kin."

Four days after Thursday's collapse, more than 150 people remain unaccounted for in Surfside, and authorities and loved ones fear the toll will go much higher.

By Associated Press
 

Miami-Dade County mayor says first responders still in "search-and-rescue" mode

Miami-Dade mayor: First responders still in "... 03:48

Daniella Levine Cava, mayor of Miami-Dade County, said Sunday that workers involved in the effort at the collapsed condo tower in Surfside remain in search-and-rescue mode and have been joined by an additional team from Israel to assist with the operation.

"Everybody that is needed is on the site and doing the work, and we're continuing our efforts to find people alive," Levine Cava said in an interview with "Face the Nation."

While a fire in the debris hampered the operation, Levine Cava said first responders were able to control the fire and smoke as of noon Saturday, allowing rescue crews in search of survivors to work with clearer visibility through the night Sunday. 

"They're of course doing everything from above. They're using the sonar, the cameras, the dogs," she said. "They have the tunneling below, and they created a trench to separate the smoky area from the not smoky area to be able to proceed unabated."

Levine Cava said Surfside's building inspector examined the still-inhabited Champlain Towers North, which was built the same year as the collapsed building and is next to it, but "did not find anything to cause concern." Still, she said residents of the north tower can evacuate.

By Melissa Quinn
 

$9 million in repairs were needed before building collapsed

Nearly three years before an oceanfront building collapsed near Miami, an engineering firm estimated that major repairs the building needed would cost more than $9 million, according to newly released emails.

The email from the firm of Morabito Consultants was among a series of documents released by the city of Surfside as rescue efforts continued at the site of the collapsed building, where more than 150 people remained unaccounted for. At least five people were killed in the collapse.

The release of the 2018 cost estimate followed the earlier publication of another document from the firm showing the ground-floor pool deck of the building was resting on a concrete slab that had "major structural damage" and needed to be extensively repaired. That report also uncovered "abundant cracking and spalling" of concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage.

The report did not warn of imminent danger from the damage, and it is unclear if any of the damage observed was responsible for the collapse of Champlain Towers South.

The cost estimate showed that repairs across the entire building would cost more than $9.1 million, with the cost of work at the garage, entrance and pool deck alone accounting for more than $3.8 million. The work had not been done by the time the building collapsed.

By Associated Press
 

4 victims identified by Miami police

Miami-Dade police on Saturday night identified four of the five confirmed dead in the building collapse.

The victims were identified as Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79; and Manuel LaFont, 54.

By Jordan Freiman
 

Death toll rises to 5 as another body is pulled from wreckage

A fifth person was confirmed dead after firefighters pulled another body from the scene of the collapsed building Saturday, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials told CBS Miami.

More than 150 people remained unaccounted for three days after the condo tower crashed down.

By Cassidy McDonald
 

County orders audit for buildings 40 years and older

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has directed the county's Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources to "immediately" start an audit of all buildings that are 40 years and older. 

The tower that collapsed was built 41 years ago on reclaimed wetlands.   

"We want to make sure that every building has completed their recertification process and we want to move swiftly to remediate any issues that may have been identified in that process," she said Saturday at a press conference.

The county is going to conduct the audit within the next 30 days, beginning on Saturday. 

There are buildings in cities that are "beyond the county's regulatory authority," the mayor said, and she invited cities to join in what she called an "aggressive review."  

"We know everyone wants to know what is the cause, what has happened here, and of course we are going to conduct a full and thorough investigation with all of our local, state and federal resources coming on the scene, so people are gathering from all around to help us with this investigation," she said. 

By Sarah Lynch Baldwin
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