Officials in Florida say the search for victims in the June 24 partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building is nearing an end.
The death toll Thursday stood at 97 with eight unaccounted for, officials said. Of the 97, 90 have been identified.
"The total number of confirmed deaths is now 97 — a staggering, heartbreaking loss of life," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on Twitter.
Nearly 10 million kilograms of debris has been removed from the site of the 12-story building in Surfside, Florida.
Workers were attempting to make sure jewelry, photo albums and other personal items were recovered and returned to their owners or relatives, The Washington Post reported.
“Plates, you can replace; a vase, you can replace,” Rabbi Yossi Harlig, the Miami-Dade police chaplain, said, according to the Post. “But a holy book or tallit [a prayer shawl] or tefillin [a case containing Torah texts for weekday morning prayers] or something that was in the family that was passed from generation to generation, those are things you want to make sure you can get back.”
Officials have yet to determine what caused the 40-year-old building to fall, but some are pointing to a 2018 engineer’s report citing “major structural damage” and a “major error” in the building’s construction.
Some information for this report came from Reuters.