Death toll in Florida building collapse reaches 78

Residential building collapse in South Florida
A building that partially collapsed is seen in Surfside, near Miami Beach, Florida, U.S., June 24, 2021. REUTERS/Octavio Jones - RC237O97WZM5

MIAMI: The confirmed death toll in the partial collapse of a 12-storey residential building in Surfside, Florida, has increased to 78 after the remains of 14 more victims were found in the rubble, authorities said.

There are 62 people who remain unaccounted for, and 200 accounted for, Xinhua news agency quoted Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava as saying to reporters on Friday.

Cava said among the dead, 47 have been identified. The collapse occurred on June 24. The way the building collapsed gave people who were inside the lowest probability of survival, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief of Operations Raide Jadallah said, describing it as a “pancake” collapse.

The beachside town, which sits around 9.6 km north of Miami Beach, has hired Allyn Kilsheimer, founder of KCE Structural Engineers, to lead the investigation into what caused the collapse, according to local media reports.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said earlier this week that it was unclear whether flaws in the structure were unique to the building, its construction or maintenance.

Also unclear are the implications of the collapse for new state regulations.