The death toll after the collapse of a Florida apartment tower has risen to nine, officials said Sunday, with more than 150 people still missing and their weary families waiting more than three days afterwards for information as to their fate.
The outlook grew more and more grim by the hour, however, as the slow rescue operation, involving workers sorting nonstop through the rubble in torrid heat and high humidity, carried on.
Four new bodies and other human remains were found after rescuers dug an enormous trench — 125 feet long, 20 feet wide and 40 feet deep (38 by 6 by 12 meters) — through the mountain of debris, according to the Miami-Dade County mayor.
“We were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble… So I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters in Surfside, near Miami Beach, adding that one victim had died in hospital. “We’ve identified four of the victims and notified next of kin.”