South Florida first responders pull bodies from rubble after Hurricane Michael

Death toll in Florida stands at 16 following last week's storm

MEXICO BEACH, Fla. - Officials are now saying the death toll in the state has doubled nearly a week after Hurricane Michael struck the Florida Panhandle.

Local 10 News reporter Christian De La Rosa was in Mexico Beach Tuesday following search crews from South Florida who are on the ground carrying out the recovery missions. 

"We're looking at somebody, possibly at somebody being inside a rubble pile," City of Miami Fire Rescue Capt. Ignatius Carroll said. 

It's day six and South Florida's Task Force 2 is still sifting through piles of rubble while looking for victims.

"They're physically moving some of the debris out with their hands so they can preserve the area, but also allow the search dog to go back in and see whether or not we do possibly have some concern of possibly somebody being in there," Carroll said. 

Carroll said they located one body early Tuesday and another on Monday in Mexico Beach.

They're now focusing on a home where cadaver dogs got a scent for possible human remains.

The home was washed out by the storm surge some two blocks from where it originally stood.

"When we arrived, we've found homes that were actually a block or two away," Carroll said. "(They) were actually washed in by storm surge, and slammed into other homes. So what you see behind us that we're working with is not a home that wasn't physically there. That home was washed in."

First responders from Palm Beach County were also in the Panhandle Tuesday and found at least two other bodies.

One of the bodies was found by a K9 and the other was found with the use of a drone. 

Officials said 16 people died in Florida because of Hurricane Michael.

State officials did not provide details of how the victims' deaths were storm-related.

Officials said 12 of the deaths occurred in Bay County, a seaside county that took a direct hit from the storm.

The Associated Press' tally also includes 10 deaths in Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina.
 

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