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Surfside building collapse latest: 159 still unaccounted for as death toll rises

Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

(MIAMI) — As the investigation into the residential building that collapsed in Surfside, Florida, continues, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told ABC News Friday that three more bodies have been pulled from the rubble, bringing the death toll to four.

The three people were found Thursday night and have not yet been identified, the mayor said.

“I do want to emphasize that 102 people have been accounted for and that number is way up from the original count and so we’re very, very grateful for the hard work of our firefighters on the scene working throughout the night day and night from above and from below,” Levine Cava said.

But at a Friday morning press conference, she announced that 159 people remain unaccounted for.

President Joe Biden approved a Florida emergency declaration early Friday after the residential building in Miami-Dade County partially collapsed, trapping dozens under mounds of rubble.

A White House statement released at around 1 a.m. ET confirmed the president authorized the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) “to coordinate all disaster relief efforts which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population, and to provide appropriate assistance for required emergency measures…”

FEMA was authorized to identify, mobilize and provide equipment and resources to alleviate the impacts of the emergency, the statement read. That includes “debris removal and emergency protective measures, including direct federal assistance.”

Levine Cava said she is “so grateful to the president” for his efforts to help Surfside as they try to understand and get through this tragedy.

“He called me yesterday morning, asked me what I needed. I told him FEMA would be a great, great assist to us, and he moved mountains,” the mayor said.

Friday morning, authorities — with the help of structural engineers on the scene — are still trying to understand the cause of the collapse, and rescue efforts remain in effect. Levine Cava said there is no evidence to indicate that the collapse was a result of foul play.

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