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Florida condo building collapse death toll rises to 9, dozens still missing
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 28 - 06 - 2021

Rescue crews have descended upon the coastal town of Surfside, Florida, as families wait for any news — good or bad — about their loved ones following the collapse of a condo building on Thursday.
At least nine people are dead, 152 are unaccounted for and 134 are accounted for in the collapse of Champlain Towers South as of Sunday night, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during a press conference.
The missing are from at least nine countries, including six Latin American countries, and multiple faith communities.
Rescuers from Israel have come to the waterfront town to help local, state and federal agencies in their search efforts. Rescuers from Mexico are expected to arrive Monday. Over the weekend, crews were able to carve out trenches, contain a deep-rooted fire, and burrow into the collapse site to pull victims out as crews above ground used K9s, sonar and heavy equipment to locate the missing.
On Sunday, some family members were bussed from the reunification center to the site of the collapse to pay their respects and witness the efforts rescuers are making to bring their family home.
Meanwhile, the collapse has prompted other cities to rethink their certification and recertification processes, with one city less than five miles away from the collapse starting new inspections Monday.
At least nine people are confirmed dead following the collapse, with eight of them identified by authorities as of Sunday night.
The first victim was identified Friday as Stacie Fang, 54. She is the mother of Jonah Handler, the boy who was pulled from the rubble alive, her family said in a statement.
"There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie," the family said. "The many heartfelt words of encouragement and love have served as a much-needed source of strength during this devastating time."
Officials identified three more victims on Saturday as Antonio Lozano, 83, Gladys Lozano, 79, and Manuel LaFont, 54.
On Sunday, they released the identities of four more victims: Leon Oliwkowicz, 80; Luis Bermudez, 26; Anna Ortiz, 46; and Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74. One victim has not yet been identified by authorities.
"The process of identifying these victims is very difficult," Levine Cava said Saturday. "We're going to be relying on DNA testing. And that is why we've already been gathering DNA samples from the family members, so they have all participated and provided DNA to assist us in the investigation."
"This allows us to do rapid DNA testing on-site for bodies," she explained. — CNN


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