Live

Watch CBSN Live

Crews at Florida condo collapse site worried about track of Elsa

Death toll rises to 24 in condo collapse
Death toll rises to 24 in condo collapse 50:22

The cause of the condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, remains unclear on Saturday, ten days after the building crumbled into a pile of rubble. Crews are worried about the safety of the site and now, the track of a storm, Tropical Storm Elsa.

The storm, which was downgraded to a tropical storm on Saturday after previously becoming a hurricane, is expected to move near Haiti and the Dominican Republic on Saturday and near Jamaica and eastern Cuba on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center. It is then forecast to move across Cuba by Monday and toward the Florida Straits.

The potential path of the storm over Florida remains unclear. But poor weather conditions at the collapse site could complicate ongoing search efforts. 

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said at a press conference Saturday that the eye of the storm was looking to be on the west side of Florida, but that gusts could be felt in the Surfside area. "It's definitely a possibility," he said.

Potential gusts will create a really severe hazard for workers at the site, he said.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said she has signed a local state of emergency for Elsa and that they are ready for potential impacts. Officials have said they will monitor the forecast closely.

For now, the grueling work — the rescue mission — continues, Omar Villafranca reported for "CBS This Morning: Saturday."

Colonel Elad Edri and his Israeli team have been working on the mound in 12-hour shifts

"How hard is it after so many days having to see this repeatedly?" Villafranca asked.

"First of all, It's a very tough experience for the rescuers. And working, as you feel now, very hot and raining," he said.

Overnight, two more victims in the collapse were found, bringing the confirmed death toll to 24.  As of Saturday, 124 people were unaccounted for. 

Florida officials announced they plan to demolish the remaining structure of the Champlain Towers South condominium, following the partial collapse. Levine Cava said Saturday that experts are on site evaluating and that a contract for demolition to begin has been signed.

"We're doing everything we can to move forward with demolition as soon as we have a final path to do so," she said.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said officials are working to expedite the demolition so it happens as soon as possible.

"Once everything is ready to go" the building can be brought down within 36 hours, DeSantis said, adding that the state will pay for all costs associated with the demolition.

Meanwhile, fear of another collapse prompted the closure and evacuation of a 156-unit building in nearby North Miami Beach. An audit found the building was deemed electrically and structurally unsafe several months ago. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.