Fire chiefs believe they may still find survivors from the Miami condo collapse because of ‘voids’ in the debris where people who are trapped may be able to breathe.
152 people remain missing since the Champlain Towers South building came down in the early hours of Thursday morning. Nine deaths have been confirmed so far.
The cause of the collapse remains a mystery but investigators are honing in a bottom corner of the building which, according to videos of the disaster, collapsed first and brought the tower down with it.
Miami Dade Fire and Rescue Chief Andy Alvarez said on Monday the rescue mission was speeding up thanks to cranes they have just brought in that are able to lift larger slabs of concrete from the pile.
He said he pulled survivors from Haiti earthquake debris eight days after they went missing, and is urging the relatives of those from the Miami condo collapse to stay hopeful.
Alvarez told Good Morning America too that there are ‘voids’ or ‘air pockets’ in the rubble where survivors may be, and that they are ‘holding out hope’ they will find some people alive.
‘We are 100 percent in rescue mode we are actively searching for live victims,’ Maggie Castro, 52, paramedic for Miami Dade Fire Department, said.
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Workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday’s fatal collapse
Workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. Rescue teams say they are confident they may still find people alive
People pray on the beach outside the Champlain Towers South debris on Monday morning as the search for survivors continued
Part of the building remains in tact but there are fears it may collapse or will have to be entirely torn down
152 people remain missing and hope that they may be found alive is dropping but rescue teams say they are ‘100 percent’ still in rescue mode
‘We continue to work the pile, we have over 80 rescuers at a time that are beaching the walls in a frantic effort to rescue those that are still viable and to get to those voids that we know exist in these buildings.
‘We have found voids within the building that we’ve been able to penetrate – mostly coming from underneath on what used to be the garage. We have been able to tunnel through the building.
‘This is a frantic search to see that miracle, who we can bring out of that building alive. we are all holding out for that hope that we are going to be able to rescue somebody.
Miami Dade Fire and Rescue Chief Andy Alvarez said on Monday the rescue mission was speeding up thanks to cranes they have just brought in that are able to lift larger slabs of concrete from the pile
‘The pile conditions are bad, obviously.
‘During the day, we’ve got the sun and humidity… it rains.
‘The conditions are not ideal but nonetheless we are working tirelessly to try to bring victims that are underneath that rubble, to rescue them.
‘We have the latest technology in terms of equipment- underground sonar systems to detect victims, we brought in huge cranes to help us lift big slabs of concrete that we didn’t have at the beginning, basically turning the big pieces of rock into smaller rocks to get them off the pile.
‘We’re doing big lifts, getting big pieces off of the pile and that’s going to aide us to laminate this building almost like an onion so we can get inside and again find those voids that we know might possibly be there and rescue those people,’ he said.
Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the collapse.
There have been questions over the building’s foundation, its structure, the ground beneath it and even if ongoing roof work might have contributed in some way but so far, there has been no definite explanation for it.
‘It does appear to start either at or very near the bottom of the structure.
‘It’s not like there’s a failure high and it pancaked down,’ Donald O. Dusenberry, a consulting engineer, told The New York Times.
An alarming report released by officials overnight Friday reveals an engineer warned about structural issues on the condo tower three years before it collapsed
The center portion of the tower was the first to fall with the east section of the building collapsing moments later
Workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Surfside, Florida, five days after the building collapsed
There are now hundreds of rescue teams at the site combing the rubble for survivors
Rescue workers uncover a Sterns and Fosters bed mattress at the Champlain Towers collapse on Monday morning
Rescue team is searching in the partially collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida, USA, 28 June 2021
One man said his wife was on the phone with him from inside the building moments before the collapse and that she saw a ‘hole’ forming beside the pool.
Seconds after mentioning the hole, the call cut out. She had phoned him to tell him the building was shaking, he told The Miami Herald.
The developer who built the condo tower is no longer alive, according to the condo board association.
The building was due to undergo repairs as part of its 40-year recertification process but the only work that had begun was on the roof.
Structural, electrical and concrete updates were also required.
A lawyer for the condo association told DailyMail.com that the engineer who was hired to review the building spent six months doing it but that as part of it, he wasn’t tasked with looking at the building’s foundation or the ground beneath it, because it isn’t required.
Now, building officials want every building in the area to be recertified after 40 years. It is only a requirement of Miami Dade County just now.
A 2020 report into the building found previous repairs to the garage were ‘failing’ (pictures from the report above). The underground parking garage was partly beneath the pool area, where the report found waterproofing was failing