The disaster scene in Surfside. Photo credit: Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department
Update: The death toll in the building’s collapse has risen to 12, including 125 residents and excluding 149, Miami Dade County’s Mayoress Daniella Levine Cava said during an evening press conference.
The White House has announced that President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will travel to Surfside in South Florida on Thursday, where a condo building collapsed and at least 11 people died in the rubble.
The July 1st trip will be a “pooled” press, which means that not all reporters will attend, but information will be made available to journalists.
The White House indicated on Monday that the government wanted to be careful when visiting the site so that the president and his entourage did not distract from search and recovery efforts.
When boarding Marine One on Tuesday Biden responded When asked if he would go to Florida, “Yeah, I hope so.”
When asked when, Biden said, “As soon as we can. Maybe on Thursday. “
White House press secretary Jen Psaki released details later that day.
“You want to thank the heroic first responders, the search and rescue teams, and everyone who worked tirelessly around the clock, and to meet with the families who endured this terrible tragedy – waiting in fear and heartbreak for a message.” of their loved ones – to comfort them while the search and rescue efforts continue, ”Psaki said of the Bidens.
“And they want to make sure state and local officials have the resources and support they need under the Emergency Declaration approved by the President for Miami-Dade, Florida. The visit will of course be closely coordinated with the local officials, ensuring that it is not drawing critical local resources from ongoing search and rescue operations or negatively impacting operations, ”she said.
The exact itinerary has not yet been determined, added Psaki.
Miami Dade County’s Mayoress Daniella Levine Cava welcomed the news of the president’s visit.
“He will spend time with the affected families and our first responders. We have had his support since he called me the first morning – and that is so important that we have our federal support, “said Cava.
Psaki provided additional information about an investigation.
“The National Institute of Standards and Technology – NIST – is authorized to investigate building failures. Your agencies are modeled on those of the National Transportation Safety Board – the NTSB – for investigating transportation accidents, ”said Psaki.
Six scientists and engineers from the agency are in South Florida to gather information about the collapse, she said, “to learn how we can help protect infrastructure across the country.”
Note: This report has been updated to include information from a White House press conference. Assistant Editor Michael Moline and the Washington office of the US newsroom contributed to this report.