Two weeks after the Champlain Towers South building collapse in Surfside, Florida, officials made the gut-wrenching announcement that the search and rescue efforts would be transitioning to a recovery mission.
“The decision to switch from rescue to recovery was an extremely difficult one,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
As of Thursday morning, crews pulled a total of 60 bodies from the rubble, including a firefighter’s daughter and a couple who died in bed together.
While the demolition of the remaining standing portion of the building accelerated the recovery of bodies, no one had been found alive in the pile of debris since day one when a teenage boy was rescued.
During a press conference Wednesday evening, Levine Cava made the difficult announcement regarding survivors of the Surfside condo collapse.
“Our top priority since Day 1 has been to do everything possible, everything humanly possible, and to explore every single portion of the collapsed grid in search of survivors,” she said, according to NPR.
“At this point, we have truly exhausted every option available to us in the search and rescue mission.”
“We have all asked God for a miracle, so the decision to transition from rescue to recovery is an extremely difficult one,” Levine Cava said.
A moment of silence was held at 7:15 p.m. Wednesday to recognize the transition which took place at midnight Thursday.
During the past two weeks, rescuers used every available tool including dogs, sonar, and cameras to search for voids and listen for noises that could possibly lead them to survivors.
But no survivors have been found.
“We’ve all worked passionately day and night for two weeks to save lives. The announcement today comes as a result of a consensus by those closest to the rescue efforts that the possibility of someone still alive is near zero,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said during a press conference, according to the BBC.
“And while there seems to be no chance of finding life in the rubble, a miracle is still possible.”