Search crews going through the ruins of a Florida condo tower pulled six more bodies from the rubble Wednesday, bringing the number of confirmed dead to 18. It was the highest one-day toll since the building collapsed almost a week ago into a heap of broken concrete. The number of residents unaccounted stands at 147. Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava made the announcement at an evening news conference, the AP reports. She said two of the dead were children. Earlier in the day, crews built a ramp that should allow the use of heavier equipment, potentially accelerating the removal of concrete that "could lead to incredibly good news events," the state fire marshal said Wednesday. Since the sudden collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South last week in Surfside, rescuers have been working to peel back layers of concrete on the pancaked building without disturbing the unstable pile of debris.
Officials are worried about the possibility of severe weather interfering with search efforts. Crews have already had to deal with intermittent bad weather that caused temporary delays in the work, and they are now keeping an eye on two disorganized storm systems in the Atlantic Ocean. Gov. Ron DeSantis said some of the resources in Surfside might have to be removed in case the storms hit any part of Florida. On Thursday, President Biden and first lady Jill Biden planned to travel to Surfside. "They want to thank the heroic first responders, search-and-rescue teams and everyone who's been working tirelessly around the clock, and meet with the families" waiting for word of their loved ones, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said he hopes Biden's visit will be a morale booster for the devastated community. “We’ve had several challenges from weather, sorrow, pain. And I think that the president coming will bring some unity here for our community, support, like our governor, our mayor, all of us together."
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