After a week of relentless search and rescue efforts at Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, the death toll took on an even darker tone when it was announced that two of the six bodies found on Wednesday were children, aged between four and 10 years old. This brings the death toll to 18, of which 147 are still missing.
President Biden and First Lady Dr Jill Biden will meet with families of the victims and first responders. This is Biden’s first trip to Florida since he was elected president.
Families worried about the delays and rescue and recovery teams are closely monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa, which formed overnight. Elsa’s last distance to Surfside was 2,344 miles.
Here is what we know.
Search and rescue efforts stop
Rescue efforts have been halted since Thursday morning over concerns over the instability of part of the building still standing.
“We have been forced to shut down operations… early in the morning due to structural issues with the permanent structure. We are doing everything possible to ensure the safety of our first responders,” said Daniella, Miami-Dade County Mayor . Levine Cava said at a press conference. “The search and rescue operation will continue as soon as it is safe to do so.”
Check back for updates.
President Biden at Surfside
President Joe Biden, resuming his role as chief comforter, on Thursday highlighted the “life and death” situation that brought together all levels of government as he visited a community in South Florida reeling from the shock. collapse of a 12-story condominium. which left 18 dead and dozens missing.
“We have come together,” Biden said, as Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis sat to the president’s right and Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava sat to the left. Republican Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott were seated across from the President. “It’s life and death.”
Biden, with the First Lady by his side, met about 50 first responders at a St. Regis ballroom.
Get the full story here.
Chief Comforter:5 things to watch out for as President Biden meets with families of victims
A family reunited in death
Miami-Dade police asked for prayers when they identified four other victims on Wednesday evening. Three of them were the wife and daughters of Marcus Guara, whose remains were found on June 26 and identified on Monday. Anaely Rodriguez, 42, has been identified, along with her daughters Lucia Guara, 10, and Emma Guara, 4. 21-year-old Andreas Giannitsopoulos has also been identified.
[ Scroll down for an obituary on Marcus Guara ]
The story of a 12 year old child
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett has referred to Ellie Shella’s story twice during press briefings. The 12-year-old’s father and uncle died in the devastation of the apartment.
Burkett said he had noticed her on the site: “When I met her she was sitting alone in a chair with no one around her, looking at her phone. One of her parents l ‘probably is. “
It really made me understand, “he said.” She wasn’t crying, she was just lost. “
Ellie’s father was the family provider, and now the family has lost that safety net.
“(His) mother is in some financial distress as the father was paying the bills and now these funds were not available.”
Ellie is one of the many survivors of the Champlain Towers collapse. Like many, she just wasn’t in the building that night. That night she stayed with her mother – and it may have saved her life.
Survivor of a condo collapse:She lost her father and her uncle. The family is now struggling with trauma, finances
Tropical Storm Elsa
Tropical Storm Elsa formed Thursday morning as the system moved rapidly toward the Caribbean.
The National Hurricane Center’s Cone of Uncertainty puts all of South Florida in the storm’s path. While it is too early to determine what impacts, if any, could occur in Florida next week, all residents are encouraged to watch for the storm and prepare.
AccuWeather meteorologists fear Elsa could quickly turn into a hurricane as it approaches the Windward Islands.
Elsa became the first Storm E on record, beating Edward, which formed on July 6, 2020. Elsa is the fifth tropical storm of the season in the Atlantic.
Follow the storm: Where is Elsa going? Click here for our storm database
What’s the latest news regarding a condo collapse in Surfside, Florida?
On Wednesday evening, the death toll rose to 18 with more than 140 people still missing.
The bodies of 18 people were found. Rescuers continue to search the rubble and listen for signs of life.
One of those identified on Wednesday was Hilda Noriega, mother of North Bay Village Police Chief Carlos Noriega.
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Remember those who died in the collapse of the Champlain Tours condo
What do we know about the victims of Surfside?
Of the 18 people who died, 12 have been identified by the authorities. They are:
• Hilda Noriega, mother of North Bay Village (Florida) police chief Carlos Noriega
• Anaely Rodriguez, 42, mother of two children. His remains were discovered on June 30.
• Lucia Gaura, 10, and her sister Emma Guara, 4. They were recovered on June 30.
• Stacie Dawn Fang, retail consultant whose son was pulled alive from the wreck
• Antonio and Gladys Lozano, an elderly couple died together in a condo collapse
• Manuel LaFont, a beloved father and trainer
Obituary : Those who died in the collapse of the Champlain Tours condo
• Marcus Joseph Guara, 52 years old. His body was found on June 26
• Frank Kleiman, 55 years old. His body was found on June 28.
• Michael Davis Altman, 50 years old. His body was found on June 28.
• Leon Oliwkowicz, 80 years old. His body was found on June 26.
• Luis Bermudez, 26 years old. His body was found on June 26.
• Anna Ortiz, 46 years old. His body was found on June 26.
• Christina Beatriz Elvir, 74 years old. His body was found on June 27.
We’ll update this list as we hear more.
How many are still missing?
As of Wednesday evening, the number of people missing in the condominium collapse was 147.
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How to help victims about the devastation of Surfside, things to know
Is it still search and rescue?
A week after the condo collapse, families cling to a fading hope. Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said many asked him when efforts would shift from a rescue mission to a recovery mission.
“We are leaving no one behind,” said Burkett. “This will continue until we pull everyone out of this.”
Families have also expressed frustration with possible extreme weather conditions in the coming days, which could lead to further delays.
Rescue and recovery teams are closely monitoring two tropical waves in the Atlantic Ocean. While one is not expected to become anything substantial, forecasters at the National Hurricane Center have said the other will become Tropical Storm Elsa in the coming days.
Rescue teams monitor:on the Atlantic; one system should become Tropical Storm Elsa
Contribution: Cheryl McCloud and Ginny Beagan, USA TODAY Network-Florida; Jesse Mendoza, Herald-Tribune; Katherine Lewin, Florida Times-Union, USA TODAY