Death toll in Florida building collapse rises to 28, with 117 still missing

SURFSIDE, FLORIDA (REUTERS) – The death toll from a collapsed Miami-area condominium rose to 28 on Monday (July 5) with the discovery of an additional body, officials said, after the Sunday night demolition of the remainder of the building enabled rescuers to expand their search.

Another 117 people remained missing 11 days after the 12-story residential building collapsed in Surfside, Florida, prompting a search-and-rescue effort that has continued almost around the clock since then.

The search for victims paused on Sunday night for the controlled demolition of the half of the building that had remained standing. Officials decided to bring the rest of the unstable building down because it posed a threat to rescue crews.

That allowed rescue teams to search the entire area beneath the building, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a news conference. Previously, certain areas had been off limits for safety reasons.

Tropical Storm Elsa in the Caribbean had also threatened to blow the remains over, although updated forecasts predict the Surfside area is likely to avoid the brunt of the storm on its projected course to the north from Cuba.

Nobody has been pulled alive from the mounds of pulverised concrete, splintered lumber and twisted metal since the early hours of the disaster in an oceanfront town adjacent to Miami Beach in Florida.

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