- One week has passed since the condo collapsed in Surfside, Florida.
- An Israeli commander at the site said there’s only a “small chance” they’ll find any survivors.
- He said rescuers are struggling to work through the “heavy smell of bodies” in the rubble.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
A rescuer commander at the Surfside, Florida, wreckage site said on Wednesday that there was only a “small chance” of finding any survivors after about a week of searching.
Israeli Defense Forces Colonel Elad Edri told the Floridian Press that rescue operations have found survivors after 10 or 12 days, but recognized that the chances are minimal.
“We don’t give false hope to families,” he said. “We think that although the chances are low, there is still a chance.”
Edri said rescue workers are also struggling to work through the smell of decomposing bodies.
“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,” he told the Floridian Press.
The shift in smell at the wreckage may be a sign for officials to shift their canine strategies as the scene shifts into a recovery operation.
Rescuers at the scene are using two types of dogs to aid in the recovery: Canines that can use their superior sense of smell to find survivors, and “cadaver dogs,” which are specially trained to find dead bodies.
The Broward County Sheriff’s Office said canines at the condominium have worked up to 16-hour shifts in their search.
-Broward Sheriff (@browardsheriff) June 27, 2021
There were three cadaver dogs at the scene as of Sunday, according to Captain Grant Musser from Task Force 2 of South Florida’s Urban Rescue Team. Additional cadaver dogs will likely be dispatched to the scene as more days pass since the condo’s collapse.
There have been 18 confirmed deaths so far from the condominium collapse and more than 100 people are still missing. Officials halted search operations on Thursday morning after rescuers heard cracking noises coming from the rubble.
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden are scheduled to meet with survivors and visit the site on Thursday, but it’s unclear how the new structural damage will affect their plans.