MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The number of confirmed deaths increased to 12 Tuesday evening.
As search and rescue crews worked a sixth day at the site of the Champlain Towers South collapse in Surfside, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said another body was recovered.READ MORE: Florida Tax Collector To Workers: Get Vaccinated Or Find A New Job
The number of those unaccounted for is now 149, while the number of people accounted for is 125. The mayor stressed the numbers are fluid and will continue to change.
Of the 12 victims, 11 have been identified. They are Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83 and Gladys Lozano, 79; Manuel LaFont, 54; Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74; Marcus Joseph Guara, 52; Frank Kleiman, 55; Michael David Altman, 50; Anna Ortiz, 46, and her son Luis Bermudez, 26.
Levine Cava thanked the Miami-Dade Police Department for taking care of this delicate task.
The mayor said the search and rescue operation will continue as crews explore “all possible avenues” to reach potentially trapped people.
“There are currently 210 people working on the mound. The Urban Search and Rescue team has been augmented by teams from all over the state and all over the world. They are working throughout inclement weather. They’re, working as hard as they ever have. They are able to make headway even in the face of all of those obstacles,” said Levine Cava.
“I cannot express enough how grateful we are for their service, their sacrifice, their passion, they live to save lives, and that is what we are witnessing, their bravery under extremely difficult circumstances,” she added.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said crews had removed approximately three million pounds of concrete.
“We continue searching with all of our assets and all of our support assets,” he said.READ MORE: Fort Lauderdale Shaken Baby Case From 1984 Leads To Murder Charge.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he toured the sight and notice signs of progress.
“We had overnight, there were issues with some debris falling off the building. The west side of the pile had to be cordoned off a little bit because it was becoming excessively dangerous to work there. I understand the work still continues from the sides and underneath,” he said. “They’ve made very good progress on the east end, it’s apparent that they’ve got the pile down to the point where you can see into the parking lot. So there is great progress.”
The mayor said during a briefing for the families Tuesday morning, it was asked how long a person could live in the rubble.
“Several days ago, I sent Mayor Cava a copy of an article that I was sent, which dealt exactly with that point. I thought it was very important to let the family members know so I talked about what I knew from the article. There were several different instances but the most notable was the one from May 2013, where a woman was pulled from the ruins of a factory in Bangladesh, 17 days after it collapsed,” he said.
He added that they were going to continue the search full force.
A grand jury investigation is being launched.
In a statement from Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez Rundle, she said, in part:
“My office has a long tradition of presenting more than just criminal cases to the Grand Jury. Our Grand Juries have also served as a cross-section of the community to evaluate matters of health and public safety. For example, in the aftermath of Hurricane Andrew, the Grand Jury issued a report that helped lead to better building codes. The Grand Jury has also made recommendations regarding the environmental integrity of Biscayne Bay, the financial survival of Jackson Memorial Public Hospital, and the safety of our public housing communities. To that end, I plan to request that our Grand Jury look at what steps we can take to safeguard our residents without jeopardizing any scientific, public safety, or potential criminal investigations.”
For those looking to help the families impacted by the collapse, Neighbors 4 Neighbors has established a fund. To contribute, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404 or go to neighbors4neighbors.org/surfsidefund.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 Testing Sites In South Florida
So far they have raised $47,000.