UPDATED 10:33 AM PT – Tuesday, July 27, 2021
After more than a month since the middle-of-the-night catastrophe, officials in Miami identified the final victim of the Surfside condo building collapse. In a press conference Monday evening, Mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, announced the final missing person had been officially accounted for and identified as 54-year-old Estelle Hedaya.
“Today, I can report that because of these sustained heroic efforts, the last remaining missing person has now been accounted for and identified and the family notified,” stated the mayor.
Relatives confirmed the identification to the Associated Press on Monday while describing Hedaya as an outgoing person whose strength in God allowed her to excel in many areas. Meanwhile, Levine Cava said the clean-up process has not yet been completed.
“Even now, teams from Miami-Dade Police Department are continuing to sift through millions of pounds of debris carefully and meticulously searching for remains,” he explained. “And for any personal items that will help bring closure to the families.”
Search teams spent around a month recovering all of the lost victims, concluding their efforts on Saturday when the last victim was recovered and all missing people were officially accounted for.
“Ninety-eight families have been notified,” confirmed Levine Cava. “All 97 people for whom we had missing persons reports have been recovered and a total of 242 people are accounted for.”
Crews went through more than 14,000 tons of rubble and broken concrete before declaring the mission finished. However, Levine Cava noted search and recovery efforts will nonetheless continue.
“Although we have identified all of the victims that were reported missing, the Miami-Dade Police Department continues the ongoing search and recovery effort on the evidentiary pile to ensure that all identifiable human remains are recovered,” he contined.
Thank you @MayorDaniella, @FEMA, @MiamiDadeFire, @FLTF2USAR, and to the brave first responders for your support carrying out this mission on the ground in the Surfside community. https://t.co/JRxLkwSJRS
— Homeland Security (@DHSgov) July 26, 2021
Levine Cava commended the crews for their dedication and tenacity, noting they are her inspiration after all they have done to help the families who fell victim to the tragic collapse.