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Florida demolishes rest of partially collapsed condo

July 5, 2021

Authorities have brought down the remains of the damaged building, with rescuers hoping to gain access to new areas of the rubble. The move comes as a storm nears the US state.

Workers prepare to bring down the still-standing portion of the collapsed building
Workers planted explosives on the remains of the building to initiate a controlled demolitionImage: Al Diaz/Miami Herald/AP Photo(picture alliance

The rest of the partially collapsed Surfside condominium in Florida has been demolished late Sunday. 

Most of the 12-story Champlain Towers South building had collapsed on June 24 while its residents slept. At least 24 people were killed in the collapse, and 121 were still missing by Sunday.

The demolition was expected to open new areas for rescue teams to search. 

No survivors have been rescued since the first hours after the collapse.

Video footage showed the building collapsing downward and throwing up plumes of smoke.

Residents in nearby buildings were instructed to stay indoors and turn off air conditioning due to dust.

Crews racing the clock 

Demolition teams set off the controlled explosion at around 10:30 p.m. local time (0230 UTC). 

The timing of the demolition was not only crucial to resuming the search but also to prevent a potentially tragic failure of the rest of the building as Florida braces for tropical storm Elsa.   

Elsa, which was downgraded from Category 1 hurricane, was expected to approach south Florida by Tuesday.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said "bringing the building down in a controlled manner is critical to expanding" the search mission as the remaining portion of the building prompted safety concerns.

Workers in the rubble of the destroyed Florida condo
The damaged structure was at risk of falling, potentially endangering the crews Image: Giorgio Viera/AFP/Getty Images

Rescuers wait for the 'all-clear' signal

Teams were set to clear some of the new debris to allow for the rescue and search mission to continue. 

Rescuers were waiting through the night for the "all-clear" after the demolition to get back to searching for any survivors. 

"We are standing by. We are ready to go in, no matter the time of night,'' Levine Cava told a news conference earlier Sunday night.

Biden meets victims' families in Florida

fb/dj (AFP, AP, Reuters)