Updated Jul 6, 2021 - Health

Surfside rescuers step up search as storm closes in

 Team of rescue workers are seen during a rescue operation of the Champlain Tower in Surfside, Florida, U.S., on July 05
Rescue workers search the rubble of the Champlain Tower in Surfside, Florida, on July 5. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Florida rescuers were battling strong winds during their search through the rubble of the collapsed Surfside condo as Tropical Storm Elsa neared the state overnight, after finding four more bodies at the site Monday.

What's happening: Maggie Castro, a firefighter and paramedic with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, said: "We know that with every day that goes by, it is harder to see a miracle happening," per AP.

The big picture: The confirmed death toll stands at 28 with 117 people still unaccounted for from the June 24 partial collapse at Champlain Towers South.

  • The search was paused over the weekend so a controlled demolition using explosives could bring down the remains of the building north of Miami Beach.
  • President Biden has made an emergency declaration for Florida to assist with additional federal funding for debris removal and other measures.

Of note: The definitive cause of the collapse is still unknown, but the president of the building's condominium association warned three months before the disaster that damage highlighted in a 2018 engineer's report had "gotten significantly worse."

In photos: Scenes from the Surfside condo demolition
 A pile of debris remains after the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo was taken down with a controlled demolition on July 4, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
Debris from the demolition on July 4. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Smoke and dust linger in the air after the remaining part of Champlain Towers South fell in a controlled demolition on July 4, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
Smoke and dust linger after the pulling down of the remaining part of Champlain Towers South. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
 A man covers his face from dust after the demolition of the wreckage of the Champlain Tower on July 4
A man covers his face from dust after the demolition of the wreckage of the tower on July 4. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Getty Images
A woman holding candles cries as she watches the rest of the Champlain South tower being demolished by a controlled explosion in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach, late on July 4
A woman holding candles cries as she watches the rest of the Champlain South Tower being demolished on July 4. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images
 People cover their faces in a cloud of dust after watching the rest of the Champlain South tower being demolished by a controlled explosion in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach, late on July 4
People cover their faces in a cloud of dust after watching the rest of the tower being demolished on July 4. Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP via Getty Images
People watch a cloud of dust after the rest of the Champlain South tower was demolished by a controlled explosion in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach, late on July 4
People watch a cloud of dust after the remains of the have been demolished on July 4. Photo: Chandan KhannaAFP via Getty Images
A cloud of dust is seen as the rest of the Champlain South tower is demolished by a controlled explosion in Surfside, Florida, north of Miami Beach, late on July 4
First responders at the demolition scene on July 4. Photo: Chandan KhannaAFP via Getty Images
 The remaining part of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building falls with a controlled demolition on July 4, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
The remaining part of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building falling on July 4. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
 The demolition begins on July 4.
The building falls on July 4. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images
The remaining part of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building falls with a controlled demolition in Surfside, Florida, on July 4.
The controlled demolition of the remaining part of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building begins on July 4. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Go deeper: Remembering the victims of the Surfside condo collapse

Editor's note: This article has been updated with new details throughout.

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