America has been captivated by the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condominiums in the small beachside town of Surfside, Florida, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach. Approximately 55 of the oceanfront complex’s 136 units were destroyed after a 12-story residential building partially collapsed in South Florida’s Miami-Dade County in the early morning hours of June 24th.
Since then, hundreds of first responders have been carefully combing through the pancaked piles of debris in hopes of finding survivors. At press time on Tuesday, 36 people, including three children, have been confirmed dead, while 109 others still remain unaccounted for.
Meanwhile, investigators have confirmed that 70 of the 109 people who are still missing were in fact inside of the condominium at the time of the partial collapse. Another 191 people who were living or staying in the building at that time have been accounted for and are safe, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, who has stressed that the figures are “very fluid” and “will continue to change” as detectives continuously audit the list.
For past 12 days, @RonDeSantisFL has shown bipartisanship leadership & put partisan posturing aside to help the people of Surfside.
He needs to show same leadership and work w/local & ntl leaders to increase vaccination rate in FL. Delta variant is here and rate’s increasing.😳
— Ana Navarro-Cárdenas (@ananavarro) July 6, 2021
Although officials wouldn’t say when the search and rescue operation will formally transition into a recovery mission, Mayor Levine Cava told reporters that the crews will “continue as now to thoroughly, carefully sift through these piles,” looking for “bodies and belongings.” The process is a “very thorough and exhaustive” one, she said.
— Darrell Arnold (@DarrellPArnold) July 5, 2021
Crews have hauled away nearly 5 million pounds of concrete from the vast scene of the wreckage, but large piles of rubble still remain. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said the rescue workers have been “aggressively” searching for any voids or “liveable spaces” within the debris where there could be trapped survivors but that they are “not coming across that.” No survivors have been discovered in the wreckage of the building since the morning it partially collapsed.
“We’re not seeing anything positive,” Cominsky told reporters on Tuesday morning.
Despite the arrival of inclement weather due to Tropical Storm Elsa, first responders continue working on the debris pile of the Champlain Towers building collapse in Surfside. pic.twitter.com/Gc12hdtu86
— Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (@MiamiDadeFire) July 5, 2021
At least a third of the dead or missing were a part of Miami’s vibrant and tightly-knit Jewish community, and the impact of such a loss cannot be understated. Miami Rabbi Yossi Harlig joined MSNBC’s Ayman Mohyeldin to discuss the unbearable grief felt by his congregation and others within the community. “We’re here to support all families that have been affected by this tragedy,” Rabbi Harlig said. Watch their discussion, below.