Florida building collapse death toll rises to 9 as search continues

Stefan Becket and Melissa Quinn – CBS NEWS

First responders are continuing to search for possible survivors among the wreckage of the 12-story condominium building that collapsed in a south Florida beach town more than three days ago, as details of the building’s preexisting structural damage continue to emerge.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press conference that the death toll stood at nine as of Sunday morning, after the remains of four more people were recovered on site. The number of dead includes one person who died in the hospital. The mayor said workers had dug a long, deep trench into the pile of rubble to continue rescue efforts.

Levine Cava told “Face the Nation” earlier in the morning that workers involved in the effort at the collapsed tower remain in search-and-rescue mode. Those workers have been joined by teams from Israel and Mexico to assist with the operation.

“Everybody that is needed is on the site and doing the work, and we’re continuing our efforts to find people alive,” Levine Cava said.

On Saturday, the city of Surfside released an engineering report from 2018 that warned that the building had major structural worries. It is unclear if any of the issues in the report — from Morabito Consultants — caused the collapse, and it didn’t warn of imminent danger, although it said repairs were needed.

Waterproofing failed under the pool deck and wasn’t properly laid, so water didn’t drain, the report said. “The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” it said.

It also said there was “abundant cracking” in concrete columns, beams and walls in the parking garage. The consultant estimated that the repairs needed to address the building’s structural issues would have cost more than $9 million.