Rescuers were given the all-clear to resume work looking for victims at a collapsed South Florida condo building after demolition crews set off a string of explosives that brought down the building’s remains in a plume of dust.
Miami-Dade County’s mayor, Daniella Levine Cava, said the demolition went “exactly as planned” at about 10.30pm on Sunday. Crews immediately began clearing some of the new debris so rescuers could start making their way into parts of the underground garage that is of particular interest.
Once there, they were hoping to get a clearer picture of voids that may exist in the rubble and could possibly harbour the 121 people believed to be trapped under the fallen wing of the Champlain Towers South in Surfside that collapsed on 24 June.
No one has been rescued alive since the first hours after the collapse. On Sunday, Miami-Dade police identified David Epstein, 58, as one of the 24 people known to have died in the fallen tower. His remains were recovered on Friday.
Shortly after the demolition, cranes were again in motion at the site, suggesting that crews were back in place in the early hours of Monday to sift through the rubble from above and below. Rescuers are hoping the demolition will give them access for the first time to parts of the garage area.