Death toll from Florida building collapse rises to 10 as 151 remain missing

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Rescue workers digging for the fifth day into the collapsed Florida building pulled another body from the rubble on Monday, increasing the death toll to 10, while 151 people remain missing, authorities said.

Different family members and friends rode buses Sunday to a nearby site to watch the intense rescue effort, which included firefighters, sniffer dogs and search experts using radar and sonar devices. No one has so far been pulled out alive since the first hours after the structure collapsed.

“We have over 80 rescuers at a time that are breaching the walls that collapsed, in a frantic effort to try to rescue those that are still viable and to get to those voids that we typically know exist in these buildings,” Andy Alvarez, a deputy incident commander with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, told ABC’s “Good Morning America”.

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“We have been able to tunnel through the building,” Alvarez added. “This is a frantic search to seek that hope, that miracle, to see who we can bring out of this building alive,” Alvarez said.

“We are just waiting for answers. That’s what we want,” said Dianne Ohayon, whose parents, Myriam and Arnie Notkin, were in the building. “It’s hard to go through these long days and we haven’t gotten any answers yet.”

Many people who have seen the wreckage up close were daunted by the task ahead. Alfredo Lopez, who lived with his wife in a sixth-floor corner apartment and narrowly escaped, said he finds it hard to believe anyone is alive in the rubble.

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“If you saw what I saw: nothingness. And then, you go over there and you see, like, all the rubble. How can somebody survive that?” Lopez told The Associated Press.

The Florida building collapsed Thursday morning, June 24. The building, which was constructed in 1981, has been sinking at an alarming rate since the 1990s, according to a study in 2020 by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment.

“I looked at it this morning and said, ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that,” Wdowinski said.

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Meanwhile, search and rescue teams have continued the delicate work of picking through a mountain of rubble, looking for even the faintest signs of life that might be buried inside the two-story-high remains of the partial collapse of the 12-story oceanfront building, Champlain Towers South Condo.

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