Miami building collapse: Rescue worker rules out likelihood of any more survivors as three more victims found

·2 min read
As three more bodies were recovered from the wreckage of Champlain Towers on Monday, rescue workers say there’s little hope of finding any survivors (Getty Images)
As three more bodies were recovered from the wreckage of Champlain Towers on Monday, rescue workers say there’s little hope of finding any survivors (Getty Images)

As three more dead bodies were found in the rubble of Champlain Towers South, an Israeli colonel leading one of the rescue teams says he doesn’t believe any survivors are left.

“I believe right now that the chances are close to zero, unfortunately,” Col Golan Vach told WPLG. “The circumstances we saw in the last few days are too difficult for me to say professionally that I believe there is a solid chance to find somebody alive.”

On Monday morning, Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told victims’ families that three more bodies had been recovered, according to the Associated Press. That brings the collapsed building’s death toll to 27, and the number of those unaccounted for to 118.

On Sunday night, the last remaining tower of the apartment complex was demolished, eliminating a danger to the rescue workers and opening up an area of the rubble that they had not previously had access to. Mr Jadallah said that area was where the three new bodies were found.

On Monday morning, Miami-Dade’s mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, confirmed this at a press conference.

“Since the first responders were able to resume their work on the collapse last night, we have very sadly recovered three additional victims,” she said.

Although Ms Cava said the demolition was necessary and “executed exactly as planned”, she also acknowledged the sadness it caused for many of the condo’s surviving families, whose homes were destroyed last night.

“To lose your home and all your belongings in this manner is a great loss as well, and my heart and deepest sympathies go out to all of the families who have had this tragedy,” she said.

At this particular press conference, Ms Cava did not discuss the chances of finding survivors in the rubble 12 days into the rescue effort.

Mr Vach, meanwhile, has spoken openly about this in recent days. The Israeli rescue expert says he’s been preparing families for bad news.

“We are trying to be hopeful, but realistic at the same time,” he said.

Israel has lent a number of its top search-and-rescue experts to the relief effort in Surfside, Florida. This week a number of those people are going home – the technicians on Monday, and Mr Vach and others on Thursday.

“We were here 50 people but the whole country of Israel was behind us,” the colonel said.

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