Condo collapse victims: Death toll at 12 and 149 still missing. Biden, first lady to visit. What we know Tuesday
It's been almost a week since Surfside condo building partially collapsed with 12 dead and 149missing and 135 accounted for. Authorities still are calling it a search and rescue effort. Here's what we know about the tower collapse and rescue efforts as of Tuesday. Check back for updates.
Biden to visit condo collapse site
President Joe Biden told reporters Tuesday that he could visit Florida “as early as Thursday,” to visit the site of a collapsed condominium. “Yes, I hope so,” Biden said at the White House when asked if he would visit Florida. “As soon as we can.”
Details of the possible trip with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden will follow. Check back for updates.
What's the latest from the Surfside, Florida, condo collapse
The bodies of 12 people have been recovered after the south tower of Champlain Towers condominiums suddenly buckled and collapsed in Surfside in the early morning hours of June 24. Workers continued to sift through the rubble and listen for signs of life. As the search for survivors continues, authorities have begun to release the identities of the deceased.
Authorities reiterated it was still a "search and rescue" operation and not a "search and recovery."
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Ray Jadallah said crews identified areas in the rubble where residents could be located, but there was no evidence anyone was inside. Crews also were listening to sounds coming from the rubble, but none could be identified as from people, he said.
An April 9 letter obtained by USA TODAY sent from the president of the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association said that damage to the doomed building’s basement garage had “gotten significantly worse” since an inspection about two and a half years earlier and that deterioration of the building’s concrete was “accelerating.”
Also on Monday, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said President Joe Biden believes the federal government has a role to play in examining infrastructure failures that led to the collapse.
Remember those who have died
The USA TODAY Network has compiled a list of those who died in the Surfside condo devastation. We will update that list as we hear more.
The victims identified as of Monday:
• Stacie Dawn Fang:Retail consultant whose son was pulled alive from the wreckage
• Antonio and Gladys Lozano:Elderly couple died together in condo collapse
• Manuel LaFont:a beloved father and coach
Miami-Dade police on Monday night released the following names of victims who have been identified. They are:
- Marcus Joseph Guara, 52. His body was recovered on June 26.
- Frank Kleiman, 55. His body was recovered on June 28.
- Michael Davis Altman, 50. His body was recovered on June 28.
These names were released on Sunday night:
- Leon Oliwkowicz, 80. His body was recovered on June 26.
- Luis Bermudez, 26. His body was recovered on June 26.
- Anna Ortiz, 46. Her body was recovered on June 26.
- Christina Beatriz Elvir, 74. Her body was recovered on June 27.
Click here for a link to verified GoFundMe fundraisers for those affected by the condo collapse.
What we know about the missing
At least 35 Jewish people are among the missing, including some with Israeli citizenship, Maor Elbaz-Starinsky, Consul General of Israel in Miami, told USA TODAY. Israel offered rescue teams to help with recovery efforts, he said.
A rescue team of Orthodox Jews, called Hatzalah, joined law enforcement officers in Surfside, which has a large Jewish and Israeli population.
The University of Chicago sent a message to students and faculty confirming Naibryf, a rising fourth-year physics and molecular engineering student, is among the individuals missing.
Naibryf, who was born in Argentina, is also president of the university's Chabad Student Board, according to an Instagram post being shared among students.
As of Monday, 151 people were unaccounted for. Check back for updates.
Here's a look back at "what we know" stories from the past week:
• Thursday, the day of the collapse
• Friday, the day after
• Saturday, death toll rose to 5
• Sunday,4 victims identified
• Monday, death toll rose to 10 with 151 missing
Concrete deterioration was accelerating in April, condo letter says
An April letter sent from the president of the Champlain Towers South Condominium Association said that damage to the doomed building’s basement garage had “gotten significantly worse” since an inspection about two and a half years earlier and that deterioration of the building’s concrete was “accelerating.”
The letter also suggested that millions of dollars in needed repairs had been a subject of frustration among residents. The letter offers a glimpse into the events leading up to the building's deadly collapse last week in Surfside, Florida, that has left 11 people dead and over 150 missing.
The April 9 letter was obtained by USA TODAY from a family member of two building residents missing since Thursday’s collapse. The author, Jean Wodnicki, president of the association’s board of directors, survived Thursday’s collapse, a condo association attorney told the media. [Read more]
Why did the building collapse?
Researchers and engineers across the nation are trying to figure out what caused the Champlain Tower South’s collapse, and what that might mean for other aging high-rises along the Florida coast and the rest of the country.
There are no clear answers. USA TODAY spoke Friday with more than a dozen experts without finding a consensus. Some pointed to sea level rise and the corrosive effect of saltwater brought with encroaching tides. Others wondered about the stability of the ground beneath or more mundane matters such as shoddy construction or lax oversight.
Two engineers who reviewed a surveillance video of the collapse in slow motion said it appears the upper part of the building’s middle section collapsed before the lower part.
'Significantly worse':Doomed Miami condo's concrete deterioration was accelerating in April, condo letter says
How to help
First responders have been working 12-hour shifts round the clock since the condo collapse on June 24. Restaurants or food trucks have donated meals to those on the ground and to victims' families at the scene.
Contributing: Rebecca Morin, USA TODAY, Thomas J. Weber, Fresh Take Florida; Adam Regan, The News-Press/Naples Daily News; Grace Hauck, Nada Hassanein, Mary Claire Malloy, Wendy Rhodes, Marc Ramirez, Leora Arnowitz, USA TODAY; Jodie Wagner, Palm Beach Daily News; Antonio Fins, Victoria Villanueva-Marquez and Hannah Morse, Palm Beach Post; The Associated Press.