Florida [US]: The death toll in the apartment building collapse in Surfside, Florida, has gone up to five, while 156 people remain unaccounted for, said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava on Saturday.
Levine Cava said that three of the five victims have been identified and their names are not being released out of respect for the families, CNN reported. According to Levine Cava, officials are depending on DNA testing to make identifications.
"The process of identifying these victims is very difficult," she said. "We're going to be relying on DNA testing, and that is why we've already been gathering DNA samples from the family members. So they have all participated and provided DNA to assist us in the investigation." This will allow for rapid DNA testing, which helped in identifying the three bodies found in the rubble, the mayor added. According to Levine Cava, there are now 130 people accounted for and 156 unaccounted for.
"Our top priority continues to be search and rescue and saving any lives that we can," she said.
A large oceanfront condo building near Miami Beach partially collapsed on Thursday, prompting a massive search-and-rescue response as many people were reported missing.
A 2020 study conducted by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the department of earth and environment at Florida International University, found that the building had been sinking since the 1990s, according to US media.