During a press conference on Wednesday evening, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced that teams in Surfside will transition to a recovery operation in their search for victims after the condo collapse almost two weeks ago.
DANIELLA LEVINE CAVA: It is with deep, profound sadness that this afternoon, I'm able to share the extremely difficult decision to transition from operation search and rescue to recovery. It's now been exactly two weeks since Champlain Tower South collapsed. And over the last 14 days, you all know that our search and rescue teams from our local community, from around Florida, from around the country, and in fact, around the world have been digging through this collapse.
They've used every possible strategy and every piece of technology available to them to find people in the rubble. They've removed over seven million pounds of concrete and debris from the mound. They've used sonar, cameras, dogs, heavy machinery. They've searched for void spaces. And they've searched for victims.
They ran into a building they were told could collapse. And they braved fire, smoke, torrential rain, and strong winds in the hopes of finding people alive. We demolished the standing building in just days in order to be able to expand access to the full collapsed site.
Our top priority throughout this entire operation since day one has been to do everything possible, everything humanly possible, and to explore every single portion of the collapsed grid in search of survivors. I could not be prouder of our extraordinary team, the men and women from here at home and from around the world who have given this search everything they have day in and day out, men and women whose own lives are driven by a single purpose-- to save the lives of others.
At this point, we have truly exhausted every option available to us in the search and rescue mission. So today is about beginning the transition to recovery so that we can help to bring closure to the families who've been suffering and waiting for news. Nothing we can do can bring back those we've lost. But we can and we will do everything in our power possible to identify all of the victims and to offer closure to the families in this time of unimaginable grief.