28 now confirmed dead in Florida condo collapse; officials say search-and-rescue operations 'moving full speed ahead'

·2 min read
Rescue crews work at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building after the remaining structure was demolished Sunday
Rescue crews work at the site of the partly collapsed condo building in Florida after the remaining structure was demolished. Lynne Sladky/Associated Press
  • Another body has been pulled from the rubble of the collapsed condo tower in Surfside, Florida.

  • The confirmed death toll in the June 24 disaster is now at 28.

  • Officials said the demolition of the remaining building structure has made it easier for search-and-rescue crews.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Another body has been pulled from the rubble of the partly collapsed condo tower in Surfside, Florida, increasing the confirmed death toll to 28, officials said on Monday.

There are still 117 people unaccounted for in the June 24 disaster at the 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South building, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press briefing.

The damaged remainder of the building was brought down Sunday night in a controlled demolition and officials said Monday that it has made it easier for search-and-rescue crews to navigate debris at the site and access previously unreachable areas.

"We've definitely been able to now have access to all the grids," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said. "Definitely made progress in those areas in our de-layering, still with our methods in how we go through, definitely moving full speed ahead in regards to that."

Search and rescue crews have now removed more than 4.8 million pounds of concrete from the area, Cava noted.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said that the site of the catastrophe "is busier and more active now than I've seen it since we began" after the demolition of the remaining structure of the condo tower.

"The living threat of that building, the dangerous situation where debris could have fallen down, is now eliminated," he said. "We're operating at 100% capacity."

Burkett added, "Operations seem to be moving much faster and will continue 24 hours a day until everyone is pulled out of that site."

Meanwhile, officials said that rain and lightning posed problems at the disaster site as Tropical Storm Elsa moved closer to the Sunshine State.

"The bad weather, unfortunately, has caused some temporary pauses of the work," Cava said. "It does force us to stop to protect the safety of our first responders."

A National Weather Service official said at the briefing that forecasts show continued scattered showers and thunderstorms through the area before the weather improves sometime Tuesday evening.

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