As the family becomes desperate, the death toll is now 9
Surfside, Fla. (AP) – Rescuers dig in the rubble of a Florida beachfront apartment in an attempt to reassure their families that they are doing their best to find their missing relatives, but the staff said they need to work carefully. To get the best chance. Found survivors.
As the death toll rose to nine on Sunday, relatives became increasingly desperate for the news, and worried about slow progress and diminishing hope. Since Thursday, a few hours after the collapse, no one has been rescued from the pile. On Sunday, some family members were taken by bus to a location near the scene because their relatives were frustrated with the pace of rescue work and asked to go to the scene.
“My daughter is 26 years old and in good health. She can leave there,” a mother told rescuers during a meeting with her family on the weekend. Instagram user Abigail Pereira (Abigail Pereira) posted a video of the meeting.
“It’s not enough,” the mother continued, her relative being one of the relatives who urged the authorities to bring in experts from other countries to help. “Imagine if your children were there.”
More than 150 people are still missing In Surfside, the authorities and relatives worry that the death toll will be higher.
Dozens of rescuers remained on the huge pile of rubble, looking for survivors, but so far only corpses and human remains have been found.
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In a meeting with his family on Saturday night, Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah explained why he could not answer their repeated questions about how many victims they had found. People groaned and cried.
“We don’t have to find victims, okay? We are looking for human remains,” Jadala said according to a video posted on Instagram.
Every time the staff found the remains, they would clean the area and remove the remains. Jadallah said that they worked with a rabbi to ensure that any religious ceremonies were performed correctly.
“So the question is, why does it take so long?” He said, “What we are doing is making sure everything follows the’T’.”
The authorities stated that their efforts are still search and rescue operations. Alan Kominsky, head of the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Department, said they have hope of finding people alive, but they must be slow and methodical.
“The debris field is scattered everywhere, and it’s very compact, very compact,” he said.
The debris must be stable and supported as it moves.
“If there are spaces, we want to make sure to give all of us the possibility of survivors. That’s why we can’t just enter and move things irregularly, because this can have the worst results,” he said.
When meeting with the authorities, the family repeatedly urged rescuers to do more work. Someone asked them why they couldn’t use crane surgery to remove the largest cement block in an attempt to find the larger gaps where survivors might be found.
Maggie Castro of the Fire and Rescue Agency replied: “We cannot easily remove the huge debris with surgery. She described herself as “one of the people trying to find her family. “
“They are not big pieces. The fragments are shattered, and they are held together by the steel bars that are part of the building. Therefore, if we try to lift the fragment, even if we are careful, the crumbling fragments will fall off the sides and disturb the accumulation. “Castro said.
She said that they tried to cut the rebar at key locations and remove large pieces of rebar, but they had to remove them in a way that nothing would fall onto the pile.
“We are doing it layer by layer,” Castro said. “It won’t stop. It’s all day. All night.”
According to Adrian Garulay, CEO of Spec Ops Group, which sells them, rescuers also used microwave radar equipment developed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory and the Department of Homeland Security, which can “see” solid concrete up to 8 inches thick. This suitcase-sized device can detect human breathing and heartbeat. It was deployed by a seven-person search and rescue team from the Jewish community in Mexico on Sunday.
But with the delay of work, the family is increasingly desperate. Some people asked to visit the site so that they could yell at their loved ones, “So they can hear our voice.” On Sunday afternoon, when the staff continued to work, relatives were taken to a place next to the scene.
Television cameras showed that two buses stopped and a group of relatives got off. They walked to an area near the scene, where officials said they could observe and reflect on it.
The fire in the rubble earlier this weekend slowed rescue efforts, but the mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, said Saturday’s fire had been suppressed.
She said that six to eight teams are actively searching at any time, and hundreds of team members are on standby at any time, ready to rotate. She said that since Thursday, the team has been working day and night without a shortage of personnel.
The rescue team also cooperates with engineers and sonar to ensure the safety of rescuers.
“We need to make sure that this pile of things will not fall on them. It will not fall on any possible survivors, and we strive to pursue this in our work,” she said.
The crew dug a 125-foot, 20-foot-wide, and 40-foot-deep trench all night, which, she said, allowed them to find more corpses and human remains.
Earl Tilton, who runs a search and rescue consulting company in North Carolina, said rescuers in Miami-Dade County did a “excellent job.” Tilton, who runs Lodestar Professional Services in Hendersonville, North Carolina, said that rushing into the rubble without careful planning and execution can harm or kill rescuers and the people they are trying to save.
“I understand my family’s concerns about this. If it’s my family, I hope everyone there will pull the rubble away as quickly as possible,” Tilton said. “But moving the wrong piece at the wrong time may cause it to fall on them and crush them.”
Tilton said that in past urban rescues, rescuers found survivors a week after the initial disaster.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis praised the search team as “the best team in the industry.”
DeSantis said at a press conference on Sunday: “I hope none of these things happen anywhere, but if this happens, the person you want is the Miami-Dade Search and Rescue Team.” “These The team has spread all over the world. These are the people you want. They were there in a few minutes, and they kept going.”
The authorities also tried to directly assure the families that the rescuers were qualified, and told them at a meeting on Saturday that some rescuers were engaged in search and rescue operations in the World Trade Center after the 9/11 attacks after the Oklahoma City bombing. After the Haiti earthquake.
After the body is found, it will be sent to a forensic doctor. Authorities are collecting DNA samples from family members to help identification. Late Saturday, the four victims were identified as Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79; and Manuel Lafon, 54 year old.
Associated Press writer Freida Frisaro of Fort Lauderdale, Bobby Caina Calvan of Tallahassee, and others from across the United States contributed to this report.