Search and rescue teams at the site of a collapsed condo building in Surfside, Florida were forced to halt their efforts in the wee hours of Thursday morning after cracking was heard in the sister building sometime after 2 am, according to CNN.
“We are doing everything we can and will resume search and rescue as soon as we can,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters.
@IDF rescue team uses advanced tech to locate victims of the #SurfsideBuildingCollapse. Over 140 victims are still missing. IDF Unit 9900 built a computerized three-dimensional model that mapped the building, streamlining the process of locating bodies buried under the rubble. pic.twitter.com/r5juHxag9e— TPS – Israel's News Agency (@TPS_News_co_il) July 1, 2021
The families of more than 140 missing and those already identified as deceased were informed about the development, the mayor said.
Engineers working on the site at Champlain Towers South immediately switched their attention to the nearby condo tower and began an investigation to determine whether the remaining building would also collapse.
As this was taking place, Surfside Police were preparing for the arrival at the site of President Joe Biden and his wife Dr. Jill Biden. The First Couple flew to Miami from Washington DC to visit the families of the victims, first responders, search and rescue experts and other personnel working around the clock in a race against time hoping to still locate and rescue survivors from the rubble.
Levine Cava told reporters the president’s visit would have no impact on the search and rescue operations. “The only reason for this pause is concerns about the standing structure,” she said.
Search efforts have continued around the clock with more than 300 local first responders and teams from as far away as Israel and Mexico working the site in 12-hour shifts after the Champlain Tower South condo building collapsed on June 23. However, the efforts have now been suspended due to concerns about the stability of the sister building adjoining the site.
It is not yet clear when the search will be able to continue.
“Due to the type of structural collapse & the integrity of the debris, operations are continuously being adapted to ensure the safety of our teams is not compromised, as there are many components involved which can add significant risk during the search & rescue operations,” Miami-Date Fire and Rescue wrote in a tweet earlier this week.
City officials last week arranged for hotel accommodations for residents of the building now under scrutiny who wished to relocate, at least until the stability of their own building has been clarified.