Search operations end at Florida building collapse site

Miami, Jul 24 (IANS): Search operations to locate more bodies have officially ended almost one month after the 12-storey residential building partially collapsed in Surfside, a beachside town in Florida, authorities said.

The overall death toll stood at 97 people, while at least one more person believed missing was yet to be identified, reports Xinhua news agency.

Firefighters left the Champlain Towers South collapse site on Friday evening, local media reported.

"Providing closure to families was the ultimate test of everybody here, and I think we did our best to do that," Scott Dean, the leader of Florida Task Force 2, told reporters.

The walls of an underground parking garage remain at the site, around a hollowed-out foundation, according to the local media reports.

Miami-Dade County is bringing in crews to help shore up the remaining underground walls for safety.

Victims and families who suffered losses due to the collapse would get a minimum of $150 million in compensation initially, a judge had announced on Wednesday.

The Champlain Towers South, a beach-side condominium, partially collapsed on the early morning of June 24.

One of the deadliest building collapses in US history, the disaster was followed by painstaking rescue efforts, with rescuers having given up looking for survivors since July 7.

No survivors were found since the early hours after the collapse.



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