Recovery effort at Florida condo collapse could end soon, death toll at 97

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SURFSIDE, FLA. —
The recovery efforts at the South Florida condo building that collapsed last month might be coming to an end soon.

Miami-Dade police identified six more victims of the Surfside condo collapse Thursday, meaning that 92 of the 97 confirmed dead have been identified as the recovery enters a final stretch.

County officials have been able to account for at least 240 people connected to the building, with just a few people still classified as missing, or “potentially unaccounted for.”

A county statement late Thursday said the task of identifying victims had become increasingly difficult, relying heavily on the medical examiner’s office and expert technical and scientific work.

It added more than 26 million pounds (11.8 million kilograms) of debris and concrete have been removed as recovery work continues to progress.

A cause has not yet been pinpointed for the collapse, although there were several previous warnings of major structural damage at the 40-year-old building.

A judge approved the sale of the oceanfront property on Wednesday, with proceeds intended to benefit victims of the deadly disaster.

At a hearing, Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Michael Hanzman ordered that the process begin to sell the site of Champlain Towers South, which could fetch US$100 million to US$110 million, according to court records.

The judge also approved returning US$2.4 million in deposits that some Champlain condo owners had already made toward an assessment to pay for US$15 million in planned major repairs.

The Surfside collapse has raised alarm and focused scrutiny on other older apartment buildings, including two high-rises in Miami-Dade County that have been evacuated over structural concerns.

On Thursday, a three-story apartment building in northwestern Miami-Dade was evacuated following a partial roof collapse, officials said.

No injuries were immediately reported. Miami-Dade firefighters responded and were checking the roof and clearing the building.

Helicopter footage from WSVN showed that a long section of roof overhang had fallen off one side of the complex to the ground below. The roof didn’t appear to have collapsed into any units.

Fire rescue spokesperson Erika Benitez confirmed that the damage was limited to the building’s exterior.

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