Death toll in Florida condo collapse rises to 28 as lightning forces another pause in the search

FAN Editor

Family members hold vigil for the missing victims of Surfside condo collapse in Surfside, Florida, United States, on June 29, 2021.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A 28th victim of the Surfside, Florida, partial condo collapse has been recovered, officials said Monday. However, lightning and tropical weather conditions forced the search-and-rescue team to pause efforts once again.

After the new death toll, 117 people are still missing since part of the condo collapsed on June 24.

The search operation proceeded for most of the day Monday, after the rest of building was demolished in a controlled explosion Sunday night. Rescue teams have already removed more than 4 million pounds of concrete from the site.

“We are on day 12 and obviously, the longer we go, the harder it is” to find survivors, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, earlier Monday.

Officials on Saturday had paused the search-and-rescue operations before razing the rest of the partially-collapsed condo due to concerns about approaching Tropical Storm Elsa’s potential threat to the rest of the building.

Federal forecasters said gusts of high winds and heavy rain are still possible in the Miami area but the city is expected to escape the brunt of the storm, which is forecast to move northward on Monday and to the West of Florida’s Gulf Coast. 

Officials said Monday night that they hope to be able to return to searching on Tuesday, after the storm passes.

Earlier, local authorities told residents in the surrounding area to shelter in place as well as close all windows, doors and air intakes. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the shelter-in-place order lifts two hours after the demolition is complete. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, during a news briefing early Saturday, said the state will pay for all costs of the demolition.

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