The bodies of two children were found Wednesday in the rubble of the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida, a loss of life that Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called "too great to bear."
The children were identified as sisters Lucia Guara, 10, and Emma Guara, 4. They were found along with their mother, 42-year-old Anaely Rodriguez; the remains of their father, 52-year-old Marcus Guara, were discovered on Saturday. In total, the remains of six people were found on Wednesday, bringing the confirmed death toll to 18, with 145 residents unaccounted for.
A large part of the building collapsed last Thursday morning, and search and rescue workers have been working around the clock trying to find survivors. A ramp was built on Wednesday so crews could use a machine called a nibbler, which can cut through concrete and rebar, and a crane to lift large pieces of debris. Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said these tools will improve the chances of finding pockets where there could be survivors, The Associated Press reports.
The cause of the collapse is still unknown. A 2018 engineering report found "major structural damage" beneath the ground-floor pool deck, as well as cracked walls, beams, and concrete columns in the underground parking garage. Two months ago, the president of the building's board said the issues had "gotten significantly worse," and it would cost $15.5 million to make the necessary repairs.