The official death toll from the partial collapse of a high-rise condominium complex near Miami rose to nine on Sunday, with more than 150 people still missing, as rescue teams picked through the rubble for a fourth day without detecting further signs of life.
What caused nearly half the 12-story, 156-unit building to cave in in the early hours of Thursday as residents slept has yet to be determined, but a 2018 engineer’s inspection report found major structural deterioration in the parking garage beneath the 40-year-old tower.
Officials in Surfside, the shore town near Miami where the building stood along the beach, said hope remained that rescuers would yet discover survivors in air pockets that may have formed in the pancaked debris.
Even so, Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said on Sunday that crews had yet to find such voids in the rubble or signs of anyone alive since early in the tragedy, when faint sounds were detected.
“It’s an extremely difficult situation,” Cominsky said. “Our rescue teams are nonstop, doing all that we can, searching every area, every bit of hope, to see if we can find a live victim.”