Last missing person from Florida condominium collapse identified

MIAMI: Authorities in Surfside, Florida, said on Monday (Jul 26) that they had identified the last missing person from the partial collapse of a residential condominium building that killed 98 people last month.

“Today, I can report that because of these sustained heroic efforts, the last remaining missing person has now been accounted for and identified,” said Daniella Levine-Cava, the mayor of Miami-Dade County where the tragedy occurred.

“Ninety-eight victims have now been identified, including 97 victims who were recovered in the collapse and one person that passed away in the hospital,” she said.

Even though all the unidentified victims have been found, Levine-Cava said that police were continuing to search for evidence and human remains among the tonnes of debris from the building, which were transferred to a warehouse.

READ: A month after Florida Surfside building collapse, recovery mission nears end

READ: Florida condo collapse victims, families to receive initial US$150 million, says judge

The 12-storey Champlain Towers South building partially collapsed in the early morning of Jun 24 facing the ocean in Surfside, north of Miami Beach.

Firefighters worked for weeks at the scene of the disaster until winding up their efforts last Friday.

Except for a teenager rescued hours after the tower collapsed, they found no survivors in the rubble of the building and soon focused on recovering human remains.

Miami-Dade police said on Monday that the last identified victim was Estelle Hedaya, 54. Her brother told the New York Times that she had recently moved to Florida from New York.

A month on from the disaster, the exact reason for the collapse remains unknown, although preliminary findings have shown that some of the building’s structure appeared degraded.

The rest of the building had to be evacuated after the disaster, and authorities demolished it on Jul 4, considering it to be a danger to the search and rescue teams.

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