First modification: 07/05/2021 – 15:49
After the demolition of the remains of the collapsed building in Surfside on June 24, rescuers have already received the green light to continue searching for the victims, who total 24 dead and 121 missing. This controlled takedown was urgent due to Storm Elsa, which is expected to hit South Florida between Monday and Tuesday.
The demolition occurred “exactly as planned” around 10:30 p.m. local time Sunday, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told the AP news agency.
To do this, the search for the victims was halted on Saturday, giving way to an emergency demolition to demolish the remains of the Surfside building that collapsed on June 24, before the arrival of Tropical Storm Elsa to the region, which represents a threat to rescue operations.
During a press conference held on July 4, the county mayor explained that the operation would use “small explosives strategically placed” to facilitate and expedite the search for the disappeared.
“The demolition itself is limited to the immediate area around the building,” he said, urging surrounding residents to stay indoors during the procedure to avoid any incidents.
#UPDATE 51: The demolition of Champlain Towers South will take place tonight between 10:00 pm and 3:00 am
We urge residents who live in the Shelter in Place Zone – between 86th St and 89th St and Abbott Ave and the shoreline – to stay indoors effective immediately. pic.twitter.com/AWWMuJpXSe
– Miami-Dade Police (@MiamiDadePD) July 4, 2021
After the demolition, the debris removal work was speeded up so that rescuers can begin to move towards the underground parking areas, one of the points of special interest to continue with the search and rescue procedures, since it is expected that some of the 121 missing persons can be found among the hollows of the rubble.
A United States Independence Day different from all the previous ones was what was experienced in Miami-Dade, still mired in such a deadly urban disaster, that for now it has taken the lives of 24 people.
Urgent demolition due to the threat Elsa
The approach of tropical storm Elsa, which has caused alerts as it passes through some Caribbean countries, led Surfside (Florida) authorities to speed up the demolition schedule, fearing that the storm could cause the wreckage to collapse and put endangered rescue teams.
Weather forecasts from the National Hurricane Center (NHC) pointed to strong winds in the area as of Monday, although the new forecasts indicate that direct impacts are unlikely, apart from some rains in the region.
Despite this latest information, the state of emergency continues in nearly 15 Florida counties, including the site of the condo collapse in Surfside.
The storm will begin to change direction Tuesday, heading northeast toward the Florida peninsula. It may strengthen a bit as it hits the west coast of the state, with rains, heavy waves and tornadoes.
For his part, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Saturday that “we have a building here in Surfside that is tottering, it is structurally defective. If the building is torn down, this will protect our search and rescue teams,” emphasizing the rescuers safety.
Last week, President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden visited the scene, meeting with family members and part of the rescue team.
Biden pledged federal financial aid for rescue and recovery efforts in the area, which has required a massive search and rescue effort involving engineers and specialists from across the United States and other countries such as Mexico and Israel.
So far no more survivors have been found despite the deployment of sniffer dogs and cranes to lift the debris. As it is, research and analysis continues to determine if possible pre-existing critical failures in the building structure could have been the cause of the disaster.
With AP, AFP, EFE and local media