Surfside officially switches from rescue to recovery operation

Surfside officially switches from rescue to recovery operation
Surfside officially switches from rescue to recovery operation

Rescue workers who have labored for 14 days to find survivors in the rubble of a collapsed Florida condo building have shifted their efforts from rescue to recovery. 

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told families on Wednesday that after searching all areas of debris, they have concluded that it will now be next to impossible to find people alive.

The decision to transition to a recovery effort starting Wednesday night came after rescuers finished searching new areas of rubble that became accessible after workers demolished the still-standing portion of Champlain Towers South. 

Rescuers had hoped to find pockets where people could have survived in the new areas. 

Rescue crews worked amid the debris Wednesday. Work there was announced to switch from rescue to recovery that evening as hopes of finding anyone alive dimmed

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Rescue crews worked amid the debris Wednesday. Work there was announced to switch from rescue to recovery that evening as hopes of finding anyone alive dimmed 

Crews recovered 10 bodies from the rubble of the collapsed condo in Surfside Wednesday, the highest single-day total, bringing the death toll to 46

Crews recovered 10 bodies from the rubble of the collapsed condo in Surfside Wednesday, the highest single-day total, bringing the death toll to 46

Officials had maintained earlier in the day that the search remained a rescue operation. 'We're exhausting every effort,' Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky (pictured) said

Officials had maintained earlier in the day that the search remained a rescue operation. 'We're exhausting every effort,' Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky (pictured) said

Instead they found more than a dozen victims, many of them dead in their beds. The death toll as of Wednesday stood at 46, with 94 unaccounted for.  

The announcement came after crews pulled 10 more bodies from the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building Wednesday, and the emotional toll mounted as officials fought back tears and lamented the ordeal of exhausted families still awaiting word on missing loved ones.

The 14th day of the search yielded the highest number of bodies found in a single day.

Workers sifted through the rubble of the areas opened up Sunday when the still-standing portion of the Champlain Towers South building was demolished

Workers sifted through the rubble of the areas opened up Sunday when the still-standing portion of the Champlain Towers South building was demolished

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Crew members departed from the scene Wednesday on the 14th day of operations at the site

Crew members departed from the scene Wednesday on the 14th day of operations at the site 

During a news conference, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava repeatedly tried not to weep, paused and shook her head as she described the effect of the tragedy on rescue workers and the families of the victims.

'Our commitment to this mission is deeply personal. This is our community, our neighbors, our families. And our first responders have truly searched that pile every single day since the collapse as if they're searching for their own loved ones,' she said.

The latest retrievals reflect what rescue officials have said would be a ramped-up pace of work after the remaining portion of the condo building was demolished Sunday night. 

So far 94 people remain unaccounted for, as rescue crews continued their efforts Wednesday

So far 94 people remain unaccounted for, as rescue crews continued their efforts Wednesday

Rescue efforts were complicated Tuesday as winds and rain from Tropical Storm Elsa battered the area

Rescue efforts were complicated Tuesday as winds and rain from Tropical Storm Elsa battered the area

Crews had hoped to find voids in the rubble where victims might have been able to survive

Crews had hoped to find voids in the rubble where victims might have

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