SURFSIDE, Fla. – Officials announced that two bodies were pulled from the site of the Surfside building collapse on Wednesday afternoon, bringing the total number of confirmed deaths to 18.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava also said that the two bodies removed were children.
“It is with great sorrow and real pain that I have to share with you that two of these were children, aged four and 10,” Levine Cava said.
Shortly after the press briefing, the Miami-Dade Police Department confirmed the identities of four more victims.
They were 42-year-old Anaely Rodriguez, 11-year-old Lucia Guara, 4-year-old Emma Guara and 21-year-old Andres Giannitsopoulos, all of whom had been pulled from the rubble Wednesday.
Rodriguez is the wife of previously identified victim Marcus Guara, and Emma and Lucia Guara are their children.
There are still 145 people that remain unaccounted for, according to the mayor.
Levine Cava urged people who have not yet done so report loved ones who are missing or who are accounted for by calling 305-614-1819 or going to miamidade.gov/emergency.
The city of North Bay Village confirmed that the mother of Police Chief Carlos Noriega, Hilda Noriega, was pulled from the rubble on Tuesday.
Before holding Wednesday morning’s news conference, officials provided the latest updates to the families impacted by the collapse.
Officials confirmed that as of Wednesday morning, they started removing debris from the garage.
A ramp has also been built for a crane to be moved into the middle of the mound to open holes for crews to see inside.
Officials say the part where the staircase was is where the highest pile of debris is. Because of the instability of the structure, they can’t bring any additional personnel on site.
Officials also confirmed that on Tuesday, they had 90% of the building mapped out, but now it is fully mapped out, showing where each condo was prior to the collapse and where they are believed to be now.
More than 200 rescue workers are on the pile of debris at a time, along with dozens of specially trained dogs.
Even more heavy machinery is also moving in.
There is state, federal and international assistance in Surfside, including a task force from Israel.
On Wednesday morning, the commander spoke about what rescuers experienced Tuesday night.
“We found some people. Unfortunately, they are not alive. We found some more tunnels, new spaces that we find,” Israeli Commander Golan said.
Crews have been able to move some of the heaviest chunks of rubble off the top of the mound.
Golan elaborated on those spaces the rescuers are finding.
“This time, it was between the balconies, so between them remains a big space of air that we crawled in those tunnels, we called the people and unfortunately, we didn’t find anything,” Golan said.
As rescue crews continue searching the rubble following last week’s collapse, dump trucks were seen Wednesday removing debris from the area.
The trucks had a police escort as they left the area and a damaged car was also towed away from the scene.
Meanwhile, officials have expressed concern about debris that has been falling from the building that is still standing.
The county mayor said crews are removing items that might fall from the building and are taking other measures to avoid falling items.
Officials confirmed that crews haven’t been able to access a 45 feet area around the remaining building because of the shifting debris and other hazards.
The mayor said Wednesday that officials are monitoring two storm systems in the Atlantic, which they hope stay away from Florida.
Regardless, a representative from the Florida Division of Emergency Management said backup plans are already in place and the department has responded to multiple emergencies in the state at the same time in the past.
While South Florida is dealing with a tropical storm possibly heading our way, rescue crews have been dealing with days of rainfall that make their already dangerous work that much more difficult.
“We pray for their safety during this mission,” the mayor said.
Additionally, officials said a grand jury was being impaneled in Miami-Dade County to look into the cause of the collapse.
Levine Cava said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle has her full support and cooperation.
Below is a list of those who have been confirmed to be deceased following Thursday’s collapse:
· Lucia Guara: 11 years old; recovered 6/30/2021
· Emma Guara: 4 years old; recovered 6/30/2021
· Anaely Rodriguez: 42 years old; recovered 6/30/2021
· Andreas Giannitsopoulos: 21 years old; recovered 6/30/2021
· Hilda Noriega: 92 years old; recovered 6/29/2021
· Frank Kleiman: 55 years old; recovered 6/28/2021
· Michael David Altman; 50 years old; recovered 6/28/2021
· Christina Beatriz Elvira Oliwkowicz: 74 years old; recovered 6/27/2021
· Marcus Joseph Guara: 52 years old; recovered 6/26/2021
· Leon Oliwkowicz: 80 years old; recovered 6/26/2021
· Luis Bermudez: 26 years old; recovered 6/26/2021
· Anna Ortiz: 46 years old; recovered 6/26/2021
· Gladys Lozano, 79 years old; recovered 6/25/2021
· Manuel “Manny” LaFont, 54 years old; recovered 6/25/2021
· Stacie Dawn Fang: 54 years old; recovered 6/24/2021
· Antonio Lozano, 83 years old; recovered 6/24/2021