(Miami) The final count continues after a building collapsed in Florida, with authorities announcing the discovery of an extra body Friday afternoon, raising the death toll to 79, a “little miracle” that allows the image to be clarified: 16 days after a cat was found alive.
Miami-Tate County Mayor Daniel Levine Kawa announced the discovery of a new victim at a press conference.
Of the 79 victims, 53 have been identified, and the mayor said 61 people were still missing from the building when it collapsed.
“A little miracle will bring a little comfort to a miserable family,” said Daniella Levine Kawa.
The Pinks cat with a short black coat, not far from the ruins south of the Sampline Towers, survived more than two weeks before the disaster and returned to its owners.
The latter, the Gonzalez family, its mother Angela and daughter Devan were in the building when it collapsed and were injured when they tried to escape, confirming that it was their animal.
Father Edgar was one of the missing.
Authorities had to settle Wednesday to complete relief efforts after residents believed for a few days that they could survive in airbags. The search for the bodies of the victims continued Friday.
Surrounding Mayor Charles Burkett praised the “incredible progress” made by rescue teams who took 24-hour turns at the scene of the disaster.
The ruins, which were once a 12-story waterfront building, were four stories high when it collapsed, and are now at ground level, he said.
“We found the victims in the rubble,” said Alan Kominski, a Miami-Tate fire chief.
Search teams focused on areas of stairs, where residents might be trapped as they tried to escape, and rooms, based on plans for apartments, he explained.
The southern building of the Sampline Towers collapsed somewhat, still largely unexplained, on the night of June 24, although the building’s structural sites appeared to have deteriorated.
The remaining building was subjected to controlled demolition on Sunday evening as instability was considered dangerous, allowing teams to advance in the excavation areas.