On July 7, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava stated that the condo collapse search and rescue efforts in Surfside, Florida have transitioned to a recovery operation.
In an evening news briefing, Levine Cava stated that the transition would take place at midnight. “To share this news with the families this evening who are still missing their loved ones was devastating and it’s also difficult to share with all of you,” she said.
Levine Cava stated that her team has developed a detailed plan to not only guide the transition but also ensure that the operations proceed at the same speed and intensity. The mayor added that the death toll currently stands at 54, with 86 individuals “potentially unaccounted for.”
Alan Cominsky, Miami-Dade County Fire Chief revealed that the decision to transition to a recovery operation was made on the basis of facts that arose through the search and rescue mission in the past two weeks. “To determine the viability of life in the rubble, we considered engineering, medical and other factors,” he added.
Those factors, Raide Jadallah, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief of Operations, said included “the building collapse itself, the pancake, which gives you the lowest probability of survivability.” He also highlighted that “typically an individual has a specific amount of time, in regards to lack of food, water, and air but this collapse just doesn’t provide any of that sort.”
“The other factors that we have to include, you know, the fact that we did not get in the alert (from) a K-9, a sensor trip forward, sound, and any visual utilizing our cameras. The last known alert that we received was in the initial hours the day of the collapse,” Jadallah added.
Acknowledging the day as a “heartbreaking” one, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett shared, “In the end, God is still in charge. While there seems to be no chance of finding life in the rubble, a miracle is still possible.”