Death Toll Rises to 9 Following Surfside Collapse as Day Five of Rescue Begins

Officials said 152 people are missing. The latest death toll is 9

NBC Universal, Inc.

Rescue efforts continued around-the-clock as the search for survivors entered its fifth day Monday at the site of the condo collapse in Surfside.

At a news briefing Sunday, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the death toll had risen to 9.

"We were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble as well as additional human remains," the mayor said.

During the briefing, Levine Cava added the number of people missing was reduced to 152. DNA samples from family members are being gathered to help identify human remains also found at the site.

The Miami-Dade Police Department identified four additional victims of the Surfside condo collapse. The victims are Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Luis Bermudez, 26; Anna Ortiz; 46; and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74.

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

On MSNBC's Morning Joe, Levine Cava said Monday that first responders are still in a "search and recovery mode" and still have the anticipation they may be able to find some people.

Cranes could be seen lifting large pieces of debris, while rescue teams searched for possible signs of life in the three-story-high debris field.

Crews have cut a 125-foot long trench which is 20 feet wide and 40 feet deep in an attempt to locate crevices for possible survivors.

Rescue crews have begun to remove debris from the collapse site. NBC 6's Johnny Archer reports.

Canines and sonar technology are also being used to try to locate missing residents, the mayor said.

Gov. Ron DeSantis said debris being removed is being taken to a warehouse for forensic purposes as officials try to determine the cause of the collapse.

On Sunday, a smoldering fire deep within the building was out after earlier creating smoke and air quality issues — making it difficult for search and rescue teams to locate possible survivors.

The hope of finding survivors darkened as search and rescue teams covered more of the debris field.

Officials said they still had not come across any signs of life.

The head of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Deanne Criswell, was at the site Sunday at President Biden's request.

"On behalf of the president, our hearts go out to all of the families and the loved ones who've been affected by this really tragic incident," she said.

A 2018 report revealed that there were "major structural damages" to the condominium that partially collapsed in Surfside. NBC 6's Tony Pipitone reports.

Criswell said urban search and rescue teams are available to come in and assist as needed and the Army Corps of Engineers had been brought in to provide additional technical assistance,

"At the same time, we want to 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, " Levine Cava said Saturday.

The mayor said she was ordering an immediate audit of all county buildings built at the 40-year point and beyond to be conducted by the county department of regulatory and economic resources.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Saturday that he is considering temporarily evacuating residents from Champlain Towers North, the building adjacent to the tower that collapsed, in order to give engineers time to check the safety of its structure.

Burkett said an evacuation would be “out of an abundance of caution” to ensure the safety of the structure and that they're working to bring building inspectors to thoroughly inspect the North Towers over a two-week period.

Burkett also said they've secured federal resources to temporarily relocate residents who feel uncomfortable living in the North Towers.

A 2018 engineering report found "major structural damage" in the now-collapsed condo.

The report, from Morabito Consultants, is included in hundreds of pages the Town of Surfside released last Friday in response to public records requests from media, including the NBC 6 Investigators.

Video of the collapse showed the center of the building appearing to tumble down first and a section nearest to the ocean teetering and coming down seconds later, as a huge dust cloud swallowed the neighborhood.

It was believed that about 55 units were affected by the partial collapse but Saturday, Mayor Burkett said that number was closer to 72.

Rescuers pulled at least 35 people from the wreckage in the first hours after the collapse.

Contact Us