Surfside Death Toll Rises to 46 After 10 Bodies Recovered 14 Days After Collapse

The Surfside death toll rose to 46 after search and rescue workers uncovered 10 additional victims 14 days after the Florida condominium collapsed, a fire official said.

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah informed families privately on Wednesday that 10 bodies and more human remains were pulled from the rubble of the Champlain Towers South building, the Associated Press reported. Only 32 victims have been identified, Jadallah said.

Jadallah said that the site workers "did some significant removal of the pile," and they "were able to get down to various areas to inspect." The search and rescue team also was working on clearing debris Tuesday, passing buckets down a line to empty elsewhere.

No residents of the building have been recovered alive since the first few hours after the June 24 collapse, and workers have not seen any new traces of survivors.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Death Toll Rises
Workers helping with the search and rescue walk along Collins Avenue past the completely collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South on July 6, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. The death toll rose to 46 after workers uncovered 10 additional victims 14 days after the collapse, a fire official said Wednesday. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

"Right now, we're in search and rescue mode," the county's police director, Freddy Ramirez, said at a news conference Tuesday evening. He soon added: "Our primary goal right now is to bring closure to the families."

Searchers were still looking for any open spaces within the mounds of rubble where additional survivors might be found, said the county's fire chief, Alan Cominsky.

"Unfortunately, we are not seeing anything positive," he said.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the families of the missing were preparing for news of "tragic loss." She said President Joe Biden, who visited the area last week, called Tuesday to offer his continued support.

"I think everybody will be ready when it's time to move to the next phase," she said.

Reporters got their closest in-person look at the site Tuesday, though it was limited to the portion of the building that workers tore down Sunday after the initial collapse left it standing but dangerously unstable. A pile of shattered concrete and twisted steel stood about 30 feet (9 meters) high and spanned roughly half the length of a football field. A pair of backhoes pulled rubble off the pile, which blocked any view of the search effort.

Severe weather from Elsa hindered search efforts to a degree. Lightning forced rescuers to pause their work for two hours early Tuesday, Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said. And winds of 20 mph (32 kph), with stronger gusts, hampered efforts to move heavy debris with cranes, officials said.

However, the storm's heaviest winds and rain would bypass Surfside and neighboring Miami as Elsa weakened along its path to an expected landfall somewhere between Tampa Bay and Florida's Big Bend.

Crews have removed 124 tons (112 metric tonnes) of debris from the site, Cominsky said. The debris was being sorted and stored in a warehouse as potential evidence in the investigation into why the building collapsed, officials said.

Workers have been freed to search a broader area since the unstable remaining portion of the building was demolished.

Surfside Workers
Search and rescue workers continue efforts at the collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South on July 6, 2021, in Surfside, Florida. The portion of the building left standing after the deadly June 24 collapse was demolished Sunday night ahead of the approach of Elsa. Joe Raedle/Getty Images