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Rescuers and rescue workers refused to give up hope, despite admitting that it was disappearing with each passing day. People survived many days after buildings collapsed in other locations, as seen after earthquakes in Haiti and Mexico. Additional urban search and rescue teams, activated by FEMA this week, made their way to Surfside to help with the search and preparation for the coming hurricane.
“I’m not going here now to find victims – we are going there to find survivors,” said Ken Pagurek, head of Pennsylvania Task Force 1, when he drove to Florida on Thursday with more than 70 engineers, doctors and logisticians and other specialists as well as five dogs. “I still think the chance is slim. A small chance is better than no chance. “
Yuval Klein, 42, an officer in the Israel Defense Forces Rescue Unit, added: “The chances are very slim, but at the same time there is always hope – we have seen miracles. We don’t want to close this option. “
Despite intense heat and thunderstorms in Florida, teams of structural engineers, logistics experts, firefighters and reserve specialists manned the construction site and combed the rubble in front of the remaining structure.
They have hidden fragments of individual lives – a suitcase, soft toys – under the layered and difficult-to-move concrete slabs.
Others have carefully interviewed families, getting them to remember the specific details that could prove crucial in identifying locations in the rubble: the location of the bedroom, the color of the carpets, where the bed was placed. This information was used to reconstruct an internal map of the building and to facilitate navigation through the rubble.