SURFSIDE, Fla. – For the first time in four days, neither weather nor fires have hampered the search and rescue mission underway at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside.
Here, amid the pile of rubble, first responders are working feverishly to find any signs of life.
“We have six to eight squads that are on the pile actively searching at any given time. Hundreds of team members are on standby to rotate as we need a fresh start,” says Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, earlier at a news conference on site.
Now, the dangerous mission is assisted by the federal government. FEMA, who has already been on the ground, is coordinating extra help and equipment.
“We’ve also brought in the Army Corps of Engineers to provide some additional technical assistance, and we are committed to working with the Incident Commander, with the Mayor and the Governor to bring in any additional resources that might be needed throughout this event,” explained Deanne Criswell, FEMA administrator.
With the help of technology like sonar and cameras, teams have been trying to find pockets of space in the debris where survivors could be.
However, their equipment efforts are not finding as much space as they’d hoped.
Support teams from Israel and Mexico are now on site to assist in bringing their own expertise and trained K-9s for the dangerous ongoing mission.
“The first days we were trying to make everything stable — it was very unstable structure because fo the collapse — so, it took us more time to try to do it safe,” explained Moises Soffer, search team from Mexico.
“Safety is of paramount to us. However, it’s very difficult. We want to do all we can. So, obviously, we’re moving as fast as we can, as hard as we can, to have the best outcome as possible,” added Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Alan Cominsky.