Two weeks later: These 13 photos show the grim reality of Miami condo collapse

Biviana Faut, at left, and Christian Faut comfort each other as they look on at the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 25, 2021 in Surfside, Florida.
Biviana Faut, at left, and Christian Faut comfort each other as they look on at the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 25, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)

A somber moment of silence marked the end of the two-week search for survivors of a Florida condominium collapse, as rescue workers stood at solemn attention and clergy members hugged a line of local officials while many of them sobbed.

The painstaking search for survivors shifted to a recovery effort at midnight Wednesday after authorities said they had come to the agonizing conclusion that there was “no chance of life” in the rubble of the Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside.

“We have all asked God for a miracle, so the decision to transition from rescue to recovery is an extremely difficult one,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference.

The death toll stood at 54 late Wednesday. Officials said 86 people were unaccounted for, although detectives were still working to verify that each of those listed as missing was actually in the building when it collapsed.

Rescuers had spent two weeks digging through the rubble, searching in vain for any sign of life, Levine Cava said.

Below are some photos showing the scene over the past two weeks, all from Getty Images.

Search-and-rescue personnel work on June 26, 2021 to find any survivors or casualties in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
Teams look for possible survivors and remains in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 30, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
People join together in a community twilight vigil on the beach for those lost and missing during the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 28, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
Teams look for possible survivors and remains in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 29, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
A man places flowers on July 4 on a memorial to those missing outside the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building that partially collapsed on in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
Search-and-rescue personnel work in the rubble of the 12-story condo tower that crumbled to the ground during a partially collapse of the building on June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
After a brief stoppage to demolish the standing remains, search-and-rescue personnel continue working in the rubble pile of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo on July 5, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
The remaining part of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building falls with a controlled demolition on July 4, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. The decision by officials to bring the rest of the building down was brought on by the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa and fears that the structure might come down in an uncontrolled fashion. (Getty Images)
A person looks on at pictures of some of the missing from the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 26, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. The pictures were placed on the fence as loved ones try to find them. (Getty Images)
A pile of debris remains the morning after the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo was taken down with a controlled demolition on July 5, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
Teams look for possible survivors and remains in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on June 30, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)
A tear is seen on the face of a sand sculpture on the beach on June 20, 2021 as teams look for possible survivors and to recover remains in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Florida. (Getty Images)

“They’ve used every possible strategy, and every possible technology available to them to find people in the rubble,” Levine Cava said. “They’ve removed over 7 million pounds of concrete and debris from the mound. They’ve used sonar, cameras, dogs, heavy machinery. They’ve searched for void spaces and they’ve searched for victims. They ran into a building they were told could collapse, and they braved fire, smoke, torrential rain, and strong winds in the hopes of finding people alive.”

Hours before the formal transition from rescue to recovery mission, those emergency workers joined local officials, rabbis and chaplains in a moment of silence.

An accordion player unseen on a nearby tennis court played Aaron Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man,” which was followed by a piccolo playing “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” Firefighters from Ohio, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, the federal government and elsewhere were also present.

On a tall nearby fence, families and well-wishers had posted photos of the victims, supportive messages and flowers. Firefighters hung a banner atop the fence that read “Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Mourns With You.”

Officials vowed to continue the recovery efforts until they find the remains of every one of the missing.

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With information/copy from The Associated Press.


About the Author:

Michelle is the Managing Editor of Graham Media Group's Digital Content Team, which writes for all of the company's news websites.