Search-and-rescue efforts resume after overnight halt at Surfside condo collapse
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Two independent sources say the search-and-rescue efforts were halted overnight at the Surfside condo collapse.
According to the sources, the search was paused due to concerns for the first responders' safety.
The efforts were paused around 2 a.m. Thursday morning until just before 8 a.m. for a six-hour delay.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are traveling to Surfside on Thursday to tour the damage, meet with emergency officials and first responders, and spend time with the families of the victims and missing.
Authorities said 18 people, including two children ages 4 and 10, are dead. 147 people are missing.
The deceased have been identified as:
- Lucia Guara, 10
- Emma Guara, 4
- Anaely Rodriguez, 42
- Andreas Giannitsopoulos, 21
- Hilda Noriega, 92
- Marcus Joseph Guara, 52
- Frank Kleiman, 55
- Michael David Altman, 50
- Leon Oliwkowicz, 80
- Luis Bermudez, 26
- Anna Ortiz, 46
- Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74
- Stacie Dawn Fang, 54
- Antonio Lozano, 83
- Gladys Lozano, 79
- Manuel LaFont, 54
Maggie Castro, a firefighter/paramedic with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, recounted the difficulty of the search on Wednesday.
"This is the worst disaster that I have ever been to," said Castro. "I've been on several hurricane deployments, and I've never seen devastation like this."
Castro is a rescue specialist with Florida Task Force One, and like hundreds of other brave and dedicated first responders, is relentlessly working to find survivors.
"We understand that with every moment that passes, the chances of finding someone alive become less and less," Castro said. "But still we're in no way giving up hope for a miracle that we can find, hopefully, at least one person."
INTERVIEW WITH FIRST RESPONDER:
The death toll in the tragic and devastating collapse has risen to 18 with 147 people still missing.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky said crews are carrying out a rescue grid and using heavy machinery to "delayer" the rubble pile piece-by-piece. In addition, two sets of K9 dogs -- those looking for survivors and those looking for the deceased -- are assisting with the search efforts.
"It's absolutely still a search-and-rescue mission," Cominsky said. "If we see a void space, if we find an area, we expand from there. We try to tunnel certain areas through there."
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