It’s Thursday, July 8th - and NBC 6 has the top stories for the day.
No. 1 - Emergency workers who have spent 14 days pulling apart the rubble of a collapsed condo building near Miami said Wednesday they were switching from rescue to recovery mode, signaling the effort to find survivors was all but over.
The news followed increasingly somber reports from emergency officials, who indicated they had been preparing families for the worst outcome. At a news conference Wednesday evening, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called it an "extremely difficult decision." Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Ray Jadallah told families at a private briefing Wednesday afternoon that the emergency crews would remove the rescue dogs and sound devices, but otherwise would continue to search through the rubble for the bodies of their relatives.
No. 2- Family members and rescue workers held a vigil Wednesday night near the site of a collapsed Surfside condo building shortly after officials announced that they had given up hope of finding any survivors.
Get South Florida local news, weather forecasts and entertainment stories to your inbox. Sign up for NBC South Florida newsletters.
The gathering began shortly after 7 p.m. with a rabbi reciting a Jewish prayer, followed by a Christian minister leading a recitation of “The Lord’s Prayer." Rescue workers, their helmets held to their hearts and their boots coated in dust, joined local officials, rabbis and chaplains in a moment of silence beside the rubble. Afterward, the rabbis and chaplains walked down the line of officials, many of whom were sobbing, and one by one hugged them. To see the emotional moments, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Julie Leonardi.
No. 3 - Survivors have one trait in common: they truly appreciate how profound it is to be given the gift of life when so many others passed away.
Calling their escape from Champlain Towers harrowing would be an understatement. Nir and two of her kids, 25-year-old Gabe and 15-year-old Chani, managed to escape their first-floor apartment seconds before the building came down and crushed their unit. They ran out with the clothes they were wearing and nothing more. To hear the story of their escape just moments before the tragic collapse, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Ari Odzer.
No. 4 - President Jovenel Moïse’s assassination has sent shockwaves throughout the Haitian community in South Florida.
The president's wife was also shot and airlifted to Miami in critical condition. Haitian officials confirmed the president’s death early Wednesday morning. The assassination comes after months of violence and deadly protests on the island nation. South Florida is home to the largest Haitian population in the U.S. and as such, the president’s assassination is impacting many in our community. To hear the reaction of some residents and officials, click here for the story from NBC 6 reporter Marcine Joseph.
No. 5 - A weakened but resilient Tropical Storm Elsa killed at least one person in Florida on Wednesday and injured several others when a possible tornado struck a campground at a Navy base in southeast Georgia.
Elsa seemed to spare Florida from significant damage, though it still threatened flooding downpours and caused several tornado warnings. The coasts of Georgia and South Carolina were under a tropical storm warning. Forecasters predicted Elsa would remain a tropical storm into Friday, and issued a tropical storm watch from North Carolina to Massachusetts. Authorities in Jacksonville, Florida, said one person was killed Wednesday when a tree fell and struck two cars.
No. 6 – For the second straight season, hockey’s famed Stanley Cup trophy will be staying in the state of Florida after the Tampa Bay Lightning won the NHL’s championship on Wednesday.
After the Lightning beat the Montreal Canadiens 1-0 to end the final in five games, captain Steven Stamkos hoisted the Cup in front of 18,110 fans — 18,110 more than the last time he did back in September. The sunbelt franchise in a nontraditional market that didn't even exist until 1992-93 went through the NHL's most storied franchise to win this one. The third championship in franchise history denied Montreal a 25th league championship banner. Tampa Bay's mayor had suggested the Lightning lose Game 4 on the road so they could win at home, and she got her wish as coach Jon Cooper's team became the first since Chicago in 2015 to hoist the Cup on home ice.