27th July, 2021
The final confirmed death toll in the collapsed Florida condominium tower on June 24 has been announced as 98.
Miami-Dade County officials gave the final tally on Monday.
And this came after the remains of the last person listed as missing were recovered and identified.
Remains of the latest victim, Estelle Hedaya, 54, were found by search teams on July 20.
Medical examiners worked since then to positively identify her before making Monday’s announcement, authorities said at a news conference.
The Miami-Dade fire department’s round-the-clock search for additional victims at the beachfront site of the Champlain Towers South condo, in the Miami suburb of Surfside, was demobilized last Friday.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava called the combined search-and-rescue operation and efforts to find and identify victims of the Surfside disaster “the largest non-hurricane emergency response in the history of our state.”
“Today I can report, because of the sustained heroic efforts, the last remaining missing person has now been accounted for and identified and the family notified,” the mayor said.
“Through these tireless efforts we were able to at least bring closure to all those who reported missing loved ones.”
The confirmed death toll consists of the 97 victims killed outright when the building crumbled in the early hours of June 24 as residents slept, and one victim who died while hospitalised.
No one had been pulled alive from the mounds of pulverized concrete, splintered lumber and twisted metal since the early hours after the collapse 33 days ago.
Authorities formally gave up hope of finding any more survivors on July 7.
However, police will continue to sift through the debris for additional remains of those who died and for personal effects to return to loved ones, Levine Cava said.