MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Wednesday afternoon they had shifted their operations from rescue to recovery at Surfside after exhausting every option available in the search and rescue mission.
She said the decision to transition from search and rescue to recovery had been a difficult one.READ MORE: Florida Tax Collector To Workers: Get Vaccinated Or Find A New Job
“It is with deep, profound sadness that this afternoon, I’m able to share that we made the extremely difficult decision to transition from operation search and rescue to recovery,” said the mayor.
The mayor said they had recovered eight more victims, for a total of 54 confirmed deaths, with 33 of those victims identified.
“At this time, 200 people have been accounted for and 86 people are potentially unaccounted for,” said the mayor.
At 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, crews, local officials and faith leaders gathered at the site for prayer followed by a moment of silence to remember the victims.
WATCH: Moment Of Silence Held At Surfside Collapse Site To Honor Victims
The search for victims of the collapse in Surfside reached its 14th day on Wednesday.
“It’s now been exactly two weeks since Champlain Tower South collapsed. You all know that our search and rescue teams from our local community, from around Florida, from around the country, and around the world have been digging through this collapse. That they used every possible strategy and every piece of technology available to them to find people in the rubble. They removed over 7 million pounds of concrete and debris,” said the mayor.
“Nothing can bring back the lives 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,” she added.
Earlier in the day, the mayor had this to say during the 11 a.m. press conference:
“Search and rescue has continued their operation and we are fortunate that the weather has cleared this morning. The teams continue to make progress in the areas of the pile that were inaccessible prior to the demolition,” said the mayor. “Through these efforts, and since our last briefing, they have recovered an additional 10 victims.”
WATCH: Miami-Dade Mayor On Additional Bodies Found
“Our community and the world are grieving with all of the families who are living through this unthinkable tragedy. Every single victim uncovered is somebodies child, somebody’s mother, somebody’s teacher, somebody, colleague, a classmate, a best friend,” she said.
The mayor choked back tears describing the relentless dedication of search and rescue teams that have worked round the clock for two weeks to find victims.
Among those identified on Wednesday were Graciela, 86, and Gino Cattarossi, 89. The parents of photographer Graciela Cattarossi and their 7-year-old granddaughter daughter Stella, who also died in the collapse.READ MORE: Fort Lauderdale Shaken Baby Case From 1984 Leads To Murder Charge
Simon Segal, 80, was also identified. He lived on the 12th floor and was an engineer who specialized in structural design.
And Wednesday night, police reported body of 71-year-old Elaine Lia Sabino has been identified.
“I can tell you I haven’t seen as much work in the last two weeks as now. There is maximum effort being applied,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett.
“We are working as hard as we can to locate all loved ones,” Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said.
At one of the walls of hope, a crisis response team has placed markers representing some of the deceased.
“It is a gift for anyone who wants to write a message on these hearts of hope,” said coordinator Bonnie Fear.
The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners will address the Champlain Towers South tragedy during their meeting on Thursday.
Commissioners are expected to discuss a range of issues about the condo collapse, including the unified response from federal, state, and local governments, and how such a tragedy can be prevented in the future.
The mayor said victims of the catastrophe will be given a $5,000 check immediately to help with replacing valuable documents.
So far, $1.7 million dollars have been donated to Surfside’s disaster fund.
CBS4 cameras captured dump trucks headed to the pile of rubble, where they picked up pieces of debris to be taken to a nearby field.
As the wait to learn how something like this could have happened, Governor Ron DeSantis had this to say:
“Just having talked with people who are on the scene, people who’ve done stuff. I think this building had problems from the start, let’s just put it that way.”
The search area was expanded on Monday after the remaining standing building was demolished Sunday night.
A CBS4 News camera was aboard a boat just offshore and captured what remained of the Champlain Towers South tumbling down.
WATCH: Rest Of Collapsed Surfside Condo Demolished
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Neighbors 4 Neighbors has established a fund to assist families impacted by the collapse as well as help feed first responders. To contribute, call Neighbors 4 Neighbors at (305) 597-4404 or go to neighbors4neighbors.org/surfsidefund.