The loss of life toll in a Florida apartment collapse climbs to 28 as lightning bolts pressure one other pause within the search

Family members hold vigil for missing victims of the Surfside condominium collapse on June 29, 2021 in Surfside, Florida, United States.

Tayfun Coskun | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

A 28th victim of the partial collapse of a condo in Surfside, Florida was recovered, officials said Monday. However, lightning and tropical weather conditions forced the search and rescue team to halt efforts again.

According to the new death toll, 117 people are still missing since part of the apartment collapsed on June 24th.

The search lasted for most of the day on Monday after the rest of the building was demolished in a controlled explosion Sunday night. Rescue teams have already removed more than 4 million pounds of concrete from the site.

“We are on day 12 and the longer we go, the harder it is to find survivors,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Monday.

Officials had suspended search and rescue operations on Saturday before destroying the rest of the partially collapsed apartment as they were concerned about the possible threats to the rest of the building from Tropical Storm Elsa.

Federal forecasters said the Miami area could still have strong gusts of wind and heavy rain, but the city is expected to avoid the brunt of the storm, which is expected to move north and west of Florida’s Gulf Coast on Monday.

Officials said Monday evening that they hope to return to search on Tuesday after the storm ends.

The local authorities had previously instructed residents in the area to protect themselves on the spot and to close all windows, doors and air inlets. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said the shelter order will be lifted two hours after the demolition is complete. Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis said during a press conference early Saturday that the state will pay for all costs of the demolition.

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