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1-year-old girl is one of the latest victims identified in Surfside condo collapse

The confirmed death toll rose to 95, officials said Tuesday.
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A 1-year-old girl was among the newest group of victims identified Tuesday in the partial collapse of a Miami Beach-area condo building, according to officials.

Aishani Gia Patel was recovered July 6, the Miami-Dade Police Department said in a news release.

The remains of her parents, Vishal Patel, 42, and Bhavna Patel, 38, were identified last week. Bhavna Patel was five months pregnant, relatives said.

Eighty-five victims recovered from the rubble of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, have been identified so far, officials said at their last scheduled daily news conference.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has been leading the twice-daily briefings with other officials since half the condo building was reduced to a compact pile in the early morning hours of June 24.

Most briefings included updates on the rising death toll. Another press conference will not be held unless there is substantial news to share, Levine Cava said Tuesday morning, when officials announced the confirmed death toll increased by one since the day before to 95.

She said Monday and reiterated Tuesday that victim identification is growing more challenging the deeper crews dig into the debris.

Image: A pile of debris from the collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building is seen from the beach on July 12, 2021 in Surfside, Fla.
A pile of debris from the collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building is seen from the beach on July 12, 2021 in Surfside, Fla.Anna Moneymaker / Getty Images

Police and the medical examiner are working "around the clock" to identify each victim, she said, but "recovery at this point is yielding human remains" as opposed to bodies, making the process more difficult.

The number of people accounted for stands at 238, while 14 people are potentially unaccounted for, according to Levine Cava.

Crews could be searching for the remains of four or fewer people since the 10 recovered but unidentified victims are still included among the unaccounted for, officials added.

Levine Cava has said that personal items recovered from the pile — such as identifying documents, jewelry, safes, firearms, religious items, cellphones, computers, photo albums and wallets — are being preserved and cataloged in hopes they can be returned to their owners or their families.

Officials have increased security at the site, as discussions get underway about how to memorialize it after the debris that was once 12 floors of building is all removed, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said Monday.

"We need a memorial," Levine Cava said Tuesday. Whether some or all of the site will be preserved will be "determined in the future," she said.

The cause of the collapse is still unclear. Documents released after the collapse included a 2018 report that highlighted an engineer's concerns that the building had "major structural damage." The engineer said his findings showed that there was "abundant cracking" and crumbling in the parking garage.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology and local agencies are investigating. Their probes into what caused the building to collapse would determine if national and state building protocols need to be changed.

Two days after the collapse, Levine Cava ordered an audit of buildings in the county that are five stories or higher and at or near 40 years old. She encouraged municipalities to do the same, offering the county's support.

On Monday, a Miami Beach apartment building became at least the fourth Florida building to be evacuated due to concrete deterioration, according to an attorney for the owners of the building. The building's 14 residents have until the end of the week to move out.