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The Surfside condo collapse death toll climbed to 86 on Saturday as recovery efforts continue despite concerns over inclement weather throughout the day.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava delivered the heartbreaking news during a press conference Saturday morning.
A total of 62 victims have been identified, with 61 next of kin notified, the mayor said. A total of 211 people have now been accounted for, with 43 potentially unaccounted for.
Cava said officials cross-referenced postal addresses, the building roster and other sources to ensure the list of potential victims remains as accurate and up-to-date as possible.
Cava thanked the recovery workers, “who work as hard on Day 17 as they did on Day 1.”
She also thanked the state for organizing the largest non-hurricane disaster response in Florida’s history.
Recovery efforts briefly paused overnight after a lightning strike, but resumed within an hour. Cava promised that recovery efforts would continue Saturday amid reports of further inclement weather.
Officials have also been monitoring the site for signs of asbestos or other harmful chemicals and compounds in the rubble, but no such signs have been found.
Recovery workers have now reduced the rubble pile, which originally stood some four to five stories tall, down to almost ground level.
No survivors had been found since the first few hours following the abrupt partial collapse, which happened as dozens of victims were believed to have been asleep.
One family received a small miracle Friday, though, when their cat was found alive.
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“In the middle of this sadness, we were hoping for good news, either for any survivors or any pet,” said Maria Gaspari, a friend of the family. “As you may know, pets are family, and this is a miracle.”
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