98 killed in Florida condo collapse

The partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building was demolished on July 4 for safety...
The partially collapsed Champlain Towers South building was demolished on July 4 for safety reasons. Photo: Reuters
Remains of the last person still listed as missing in the collapse of a Florida condominium tower have been recovered and identified, bringing the final confirmed death toll to 98, the Miami-Dade County mayor says.

The county's fire and rescue department on Friday declared an end to its search for human remains in the rubble of the building that collapsed on June 24 this year.

The fire department's round-the-clock operation at the beachfront site of the Champlain Towers South condo, in the Miami suburb of Surfside, was demobilised four weeks and a day after the 40-year-old, 12-storey structure gave way about 1.30am as residents slept.

"At this step in the recovery process it has become increasingly challenging to identify victims, and we are relying heavily on the work of the medical examiner's office and the scientific, technical process of identifying human remains," Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said in a statement.

She hailed members of the search and recovery teams as "true superheroes."

No one has been pulled alive from the mounds of pulverized concrete, splintered lumber and twisted metal since the early hours after the collapse, and authorities formally gave up hope of finding any survivors on July 7.

Investigators have yet to determine what caused about half of the 136-unit highrise to cave in on itself in one of the deadliest building collapses in US history. The portion of the structure that was left standing, but unstable, was deliberately demolished about 10 days later.

A 2018 engineering report found structural deficiencies that are now the focus of several inquiries, including a grand jury investigation.

The disaster has prompted officials across South Florida to study residential buildings for signs of poor construction or structural weaknesses.









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