Building collapse transitions from rescue to recovery mission; death toll rises to 54


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Many family members are left without answers as the two-week long search for survivors in the Surfside condo collapse has officially been moved to a recovery operation.

“To share this news with the families this evening who are still missing their loved ones was devastating and it’s also difficult to share with all of you,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a press briefing Wednesday evening.

The Mayor added that eight additional bodies were recovered Wednesday, bringing the death toll to 54.

Nearly 90 people remain unaccounted for as the search and rescue operation ends.

While many of the residents remain missing, emergency crews hope that moving from search to recovery will help bring closure to the families with loved ones missing.

The decision to being a recovery mission wasn’t and easy option, but it’s become one of the only options they have left because the collapsed building is equivalent to a “pancake.” Officials say the pancake nature of the building “gives you the lowest probability of survivability,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah said during the briefing.

32 of the 56 bodies have been positively identified – including a seven-year-old daughter of a Miami firefighter.