Miami-Dade police to take over search efforts at the Surfside condo building collapse site

Miami-Dade police to take over search efforts at the Surfside condo building collapse site

Posted: Jul 24, 2021 9:31 AM
Updated: Jul 24, 2021 9:31 AM

Firefighters are turning over the search and recovery efforts at the Surfside condo building collapse to the Miami-Dade Police Department, officials said Friday.

The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue had been in charge at the site of the now-leveled residential building in the South Florida community. But that is now changing, according to a news release from Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava's office, allowing the police department to step in fully.

"The operation is ongoing, and MDPD is continuing to search the debris pile both for human remains and for personal items until they have completed a full additional search of the debris," the news release said.

So far, officials have identified 97 victims who died in the collapse. Of those victims, 96 were recovered from the collapse site and one died in the hospital, Miami-Dade County officials said Wednesday.

The most recent victim was identified as 58-year-old Linda March. The county said it believes there is still one victim.

It hasn't named the person, but on Friday, the family of Estelle Hedaya, 54, told CNN she is the final victim.

"The tough part is seeing my parents like this, day after day," her brother, Ikey Hedaya, told CNN. "I just want my sister to be at peace and get the honor and respect she deserves."

Firefighters were superheroes, mayor says

Part of the Champlain Towers South crumbled in the early morning hours of June 24 while many of the residents were sleeping. Some residents described the terror of feeling the rumbling and seeing the cracks in the walls. Others did not make it out.

The mayor noted that Miami-Dade firefighters have been on the scene since that morning.

"They are true superheroes who have stepped up to serve this community in the wake of unprecedented disaster -- not just by leading the search and rescue and recovery operation but through the care and compassion they demonstrated to all the families, doing everything they could to bring closure to those who lost loved ones," Levine Cava said.

"We're also very grateful to Miami-Dade Police Department which has been leading the investigation since the beginning, and now continues the challenging work of continuing to sift through millions of pounds of debris, searching for remains and personal items to bring closure to families," the mayor added.

Now a month since the tragedy, the site is mostly cleared and debris has been relocated to a different site, with more than 22 million pounds of debris removed.

Officials have said the search will not end until every loved one is recovered.

"We are continuing to search with enormous care and diligence and to work closely hand-in-hand with faith leaders as we have since the beginning of this process," Levine Cava said.

The cause of the collapse remains under investigation, which will fully begin when the search ends.

Florida State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has acknowledged "multiple requests by engineers and attorneys" to gain access to the site.

"It is my understanding that once NIST (the National Institute of Standards and Technology), the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue and Miami-Dade Police Departments determine that it is safe and appropriate for others to gain access to the site, they will be permitted to do so under guidelines set forth by those agencies," Rundle said.

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Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 482902

Reported Deaths: 9425
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison33063488
Hinds31021589
DeSoto30610358
Jackson23687348
Rankin21340370
Lee14909220
Madison14166271
Jones13404227
Forrest13160240
Lauderdale11601305
Lowndes10443176
Lamar10214130
Pearl River9098221
Lafayette8241137
Hancock7514112
Washington7102150
Oktibbeha6964124
Monroe6514164
Neshoba6475201
Warren6464164
Pontotoc630393
Panola6250126
Marshall6126123
Bolivar6115144
Union574186
Pike5613136
Alcorn537290
Lincoln5303131
George471472
Scott459196
Leflore4476140
Prentiss446779
Tippah446480
Itawamba4444100
Adams4416116
Tate4394101
Simpson4335112
Wayne433066
Copiah431787
Yazoo423386
Covington415792
Sunflower4148104
Marion4099104
Leake397586
Coahoma3957100
Newton370875
Grenada3556104
Stone350860
Tishomingo336289
Attala325387
Jasper314162
Winston304691
Clay296473
Chickasaw287065
Clarke282190
Calhoun266141
Holmes262187
Smith250649
Yalobusha221047
Tallahatchie220450
Walthall211058
Greene209045
Lawrence206833
Perry199953
Amite198452
Webster196542
Noxubee178939
Montgomery172454
Jefferson Davis168342
Carroll162137
Tunica153334
Benton142535
Kemper138640
Choctaw127026
Claiborne126834
Humphreys126637
Franklin116728
Quitman103926
Wilkinson101936
Jefferson91333
Sharkey63020
Issaquena1926
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Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 784484

Reported Deaths: 13921
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1111691760
Mobile707171225
Madison49549625
Baldwin36108489
Shelby36062314
Tuscaloosa33661547
Montgomery33066676
Lee22407219
Calhoun21041405
Morgan19734334
Etowah19001459
Marshall17619274
Houston16697382
St. Clair15361303
Cullman14506257
Limestone14505187
Elmore14387260
Lauderdale13436280
Talladega12855234
DeKalb12140236
Walker10524329
Blount9649156
Autauga9642137
Jackson9325156
Coffee8793175
Dale8529172
Colbert8482182
Tallapoosa6616177
Escambia6553120
Covington6420165
Chilton6342143
Russell602455
Franklin5758101
Chambers5370133
Marion4769117
Dallas4676187
Pike460096
Clarke459878
Geneva4371116
Winston422994
Lawrence4107108
Bibb407380
Barbour343270
Marengo325683
Monroe317152
Butler316490
Randolph304456
Pickens301873
Henry300357
Hale291584
Cherokee288353
Fayette277973
Washington245148
Crenshaw237069
Cleburne231150
Clay226765
Macon218658
Lamar193342
Conecuh181346
Lowndes170758
Coosa168033
Wilcox159736
Bullock148842
Perry136336
Sumter124336
Greene120642
Choctaw73326
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