Seven-year-old firefighter’s daughter found dead in Miami collapse
A firefighter’s seven-year-old daughter is one of two more victims pulled from the rubble of the collapsed apartment block near Miami, officials say.
Her father had reportedly kept vigil at the disaster site for the last nine days and was present when his girl was plucked from the ruins.
It takes the death toll to 22, with 126 people still missing.
Crews are scouring the wreckage for survivors, despite the risk of falling debris and an incoming hurricane.
The girl – named by local media as Stella Cattarossi – is the third child to be recovered from the site in Surfside.
She was with her mother, grandparents and an aunt visiting from Argentina when the 12-storey building partially collapsed on 24 June, according to local10.com.
“When he was made aware that we were close to where his loved one may have been, then he stood side by side with some of his other fellow firefighters,” Miami Fire Rescue Capt Ignatius Carroll told WPLG.
“We were able to bring her and then at least give him an opportunity to say his farewells.”
Stella’s father used his jacket to cover his daughter’s body, placed a small US flag over her and carried her out of the area.
The other body found has not yet been publicly identified.
On Friday, the mayor of Miami-Dade County said she had ordered the demolition of the remaining structure of Champlain Towers South, amid fears it could collapse on rescue crews below.
The bodies of sisters Lucia Guara, 4, and Emma Guara, 10, were found on Wednesday.
No-one has been pulled alive from the debris since the first hours after the Champlain Towers South apartment block caved in on itself in the early hours of last Thursday as residents slept.
In north Miami, meanwhile, a 10-storey apartment block was evacuated after the building submitted a report based on a January inspection that identified “unsafe structural” conditions.
Rescue workers restarted their effort at Champlain Towers South on Thursday night after it had been briefly paused due to fears shifting debris could topple on them.
They are keen to make progress before the arrival of Storm Elsa, a 75-mph (120kmh) hurricane that could potentially hit Florida early next week.
What caused the 40-year-old housing complex to crumble to the ground remains unclear.
But a 2018 inspection warned of “major” design flaws in the original design of the block.
The building association’s board says it will appoint an “independent receiver… to oversee the legal and claims process.”