SURFSIDE, Florida – The Israeli search and rescue team that arrived in South Florida shortly after the Champlain Towers South residential building collapsed last month was heading to its home country this Sunday after an emotional farewell in Surfside.
During a brief ceremony Saturday night, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava thanked the battalion for their “relentless dedication” and presented them with an honorary “key to the county.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava honored members of the Israeli delegation (Photo: Anna Moneymaker / .)
Alan Cominsky, the Miami-Dade Fire Department’s rescue director, distinguished the team as honorary members of his department.
Members of the special forces who have been searching the site 24 hours a day since the collapse on June 24 lined up on both sides of the street, shaking hands and firing the Israeli team.
On Sunday, authorities raised the death toll to 90 and there are still 31 missing people believed to be in the rubble of the 12-story building. While the authorities have concluded that “there is no probability of finding life” in the remains of the property, the pressure continues to be placed on the search teams to find the victims so that families can dispose of their loved ones. .
The Israeli team joined other groups in the United States to help teams in Miami and Miami-Dade County, working 12-hour shifts. They have carried out the work in the intense summer heat of South Florida, and during the rain, pausing only when there was lightning in the vicinity. They also suspended activities when authorities drew up plans to demolish the remaining part of the building on July 4.
The Israeli team used the building plans to create detailed 3D images of the disaster site and assist in the search. It also collected information from the families of the disappeared, many of whom were Jewish, to build a room-by-room model of the apartments where they could indicate where people would have been asleep during the collapse that occurred before dawn.