Surfside, FL— The International Search and Rescue effort to find survivors under the collapses condominium building continues, but while rescuers continue to sound hopeful to find survivors, the grim reality that the rescue effort could become a recovery campaign very shortly is setting in.
Israeli Defense Forces Commander Elad Edri, who is on the ground in Surfside as part of the Israeli government’s support to the rescue effort, said that rescuers face several dangers like fires and structure instability, but that they also face the daunting task of having to find human remains in the rubble.
“They experience a heavy, heavy smell of bodies and to do the actions when you have that smell on the site is a very tough challenge,” said Col. Edri.
When asked if he felt confident rescuers would find survivors, Col Edri said, “There is a possibility, it's hard to imagine, its hard to believe, but I think that we brought hope here.”
Edri’s initial hope to find survivors is fleeting, even though there is a low probability of finding any more survivors, there is still a chance.
“We don’t give false hope to families…We do believe that there is a small chance to find alive…We think that although the chances are low, there is still a chance,” asserted Edri.
In addition, Edri says that the surviving families are active and playing a key role in helping him and his team identify bodies, saying that family members have offered numerous pictures of missing loved ones.
“They are very active. They sit with us, with our teams. They point to maps. They think they showed show us their phones a lot of unique photos because in order to identify we need to know if he or she had jewelry, the color of the hair,” etc.
As of today, the body count has reached 16 with more than 150 missing or unaccounted for.