Family Members Shout Messages Towards Surfside Debris Pile, Hoping Those Trapped can Hear

Family members shouted messages towards the collapsed Surfside condo building's debris pile to loved ones possibly trapped inside in the hopes that they are alive and can hear them.

Since the 12-story condo's collapse on Thursday in Miami-Dade County, 10 people are confirmed dead with more than 150 people still missing. Rescue efforts are underway for the fifth day in a row to search for any survivors. Families of those missing arrived at the site on Sunday by buses where some shouted out to their loved ones.

"We are just waiting for answers. That's what we want," said Dianne Ohayon. Her parents Myriam and Arnie Notkin were in the condo when it collapsed, according to the Associated Press. "It's hard to go through these long days and we haven't gotten any answers yet."

The building's rubble is being searched by six to eight rescue teams. Rescue workers said on Monday that survivors could still be found.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Surfside Building Wreckage
Search and Rescue teams look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 28, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. Family members of those who were in the condo when it collapsed visited the site and shouted messages towards the debris pile in the hopes that loved ones possibly trapped inside could hear. Giorgio Viera/AFP via Getty Images

The possibility of there being survivors is a hope family members clung to even though no one has been pulled out alive since the first hours after the structure fell.

Another body was recovered overnight. On Sunday, the intense rescue effort included firefighters, sniffer dogs and search experts using radar and sonar devices.

Early Monday, a crane lifted a large slab of concrete from the debris pile, enabling about 30 rescuers in hard hats to move in and carry smaller pieces of debris into red buckets, which are emptied into a larger bin for a crane to remove. The work has been complicated by intermittent rain showers, but the fires that hampered the initial search have been extinguished.

Andy Alvarez, a deputy incident commander with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, told ABC's Good Morning America that rescuers have been able to find some voids inside the wreckage, mostly in the basement and the parking garage.

"We have over 80 rescuers at a time that are breaching the walls that collapsed, in a frantic effort to try to rescue those that are still viable and to get to those voids that we typically know exist in these buildings," Alvarez said.

"We have been able to tunnel through the building," Alvarez added. "This is a frantic search to seek that hope, that miracle, to see who we can bring out of this building alive."

Others who have seen the wreckage up close were daunted by the task ahead. Alfredo Lopez, who lived with his wife in a sixth-floor corner apartment and narrowly escaped, said he finds it hard to believe anyone is alive in the rubble.

"If you saw what I saw: nothingness. And then, you go over there and you see, like, all the rubble. How can somebody survive that?" Lopez told The Associated Press.

Israeli Diaspora Affairs Minister Nachman Shai, head of a humanitarian delegation from Israel that includes several search-and-rescue experts, said professionals have told him of cases where survivors were found after 100 hours or more.

"So don't lose hope, that's what I would say," he said.

As families returned from the site to a nearby hotel, several paused to embrace as they got off the bus. Others walked slowly with arms around each other back to the hotel entrance.

The building collapsed just days before a deadline for condo owners to start making steep payments toward more than $9 million in repairs that had been recommended nearly three years earlier, in a report that warned of "major structural damage."

Authorities on Sunday identified the additional four people who have been recovered as Leon Oliwkowicz, 80, and his wife, Christina Beatriz Elvira Oliwkowicz, 74; and Ana Ortiz, 46, and her son Luis Bermudez, 26. The number of people left unaccounted for was 152.

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah explained that conditions at the site have frustrated crews looking for survivors. Alan Cominsky, chief of the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, said his team must move slowly and methodically.

"The debris field is scattered throughout, and it's compact, extremely compact," he said, noting that teams must stabilize and shore up debris as they go.

"We can't just go in and move things erratically, because that's going to have the worst outcome possible," he said.

Among the tools rescuers used was a microwave radar device developed by NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and the Department of Homeland Security that "sees" through up to 8 inches (20 centimeters) of solid concrete, according to Adrian Garulay, CEO of Spec Ops Group, which sells them. The suitcase-size device can detect human respiration and heartbeats and was being deployed Sunday by a seven-member search-and-rescue team from Mexico's Jewish community.

Hundreds of team members are on standby ready to rotate in. Teams have worked around the clock since Thursday, said Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.

Crews spent Saturday night digging a trench that stretches 125 feet long, 20 feet across and 40 feet deep (38 meters long, 6 meters across and 12 meters deep), which, she said, allowed them to find more bodies and human remains.

Earl Tilton, who runs a search-and-rescue consulting firm in North Carolina, said rushing into the rubble without careful planning and execution could injure or kill rescuers and the people they are trying to save.

"Moving the wrong piece of debris at the wrong time could cause it to fall" on workers and crush them, he said.

But Tilton agreed that families were not wrong to hold out hope. During past urban rescues, he said, rescuers have found survivors as long as a week past the initial catastrophe.

Workers Searching Through Rubble of Surfside Condo
Workers search the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo, Monday, June 28, 2021, in Surfside, Fla. Many people were still unaccounted for after Thursday's fatal collapse. Lynne Sladky/AP Photo