Updated Jul 7, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Surfside search crews battle stormy weather as 1st funeral held for victims

Search and rescue teams continue to work in the rubble at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Florida, on July 6
Search and rescue teams continue to work in the rubble at the site of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Florida, on Tuesday evening. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/AFP via Getty Images

Rescue crews were working into the night to search among the rubble of the collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida, as winds and rains from the outer bands of Tropical Storm Elsa lashed down. But officials said there was "no new signs of life," per AP.

The latest: The first funeral was held for victims of the June 24 tragedy. Lucia Guara, 10, and her 4-year-old sister, Emma, were buried in the same white coffin in a grave alongside their parents, Marcus andAna Guara, WPLG reports.

What they're saying: "We’re actively searching as aggressively as we can," Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said at a news conference Tuesday, per AP.

  • "Unfortunately, we are not seeing anything positive. The key things — void spaces, living spaces — we’re not seeing anything like that," he added.

State of play: Four more bodies have been pulled from the rubble of the collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida, bringing the death toll to 36, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press briefing Tuesday afternoon.

  • 29 of the 36 individuals who died have been identified. While 191 individuals have been accounted for, as many as 109 people remain "potentially unaccounted for," Levine Cava said.
  • Eight people were pulled from the rubble earlier Tuesday, the highest since the building collapsed on June 24, AP notes.

Of note: Weather officials are embedded in Surfside to monitor Elsa's forecast, according to Levine Cava.

  • "We're closely monitoring the weather, and we now have our weather service embedded within our search and rescue teams to work closely to track for any changes that could impact the work to assure the safety of our first responders," Levine Cava said.

The big picture: The search was paused over the weekend so that a controlled demolition could take down the remaining portion of the building, after officials raised concerns over dangers posed by the approaching storm.

  • Rescuers have removed about 124 tons of debris from the site, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue chief Alan Cominsky said.
  • At least six people involved in rescue efforts in Surfside have tested positive for COVID-19, the New York Times reports.

Editor's note: This post has been updated with additional details throughout.

Go deeper