SURFSIDE, Fla. — Crews working at the collapsed Champlain Towers South condominium building called the efforts taxing, both mentally and physically.
But they also understand the importance of pressing onward to find those who might still be alive in the wreckage.
Members of Florida's Task Force 3 have been helping recently to secure large pieces of concrete and other material to be lifted away by crane, the group said Tuesday. This allows rescuers to then explore what's underneath the collapsed structure, perhaps some sort of void or opening where someone could survive.
There remain 149 people unaccounted for since the disaster, officials said. Twelve people have died.
Some of the crew members working day and night are those from Florida's Task Force 3, made up of firefighters from Hillsborough County Fire Rescue, Tampa Fire Rescue and St. Petersburg Fire Rescue. They hit the road Saturday to join others statewide who responded to the call for help.
It's the largest non-hurricane-related deployment in the state's history.
"The heavy rigging assignments often have gone to the Task Force 3 team because of their extensive training and expertise," the task force said. "Their hard work is part of a process that is shrinking the rubble pile as teams search for victims."
The teams, plus state and local leaders, have indicated they will remain at the site until everyone is found. According to The Associated Press, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said there was a case in 2013 in which a woman was found alive 17 days after a garment factory collapsed in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
"No one is giving up hope here," he said.
- Number of dead in Surfside condo building collapse rises to 12
- Miami Herald: Contractor noticed damage underneath pool deck at Surfside condo just before collapse
- In collapsed building's twin, most people are staying put
- Tampa Bay Lightning could join elite list of NHL teams to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships
- A Frank Conversation: New podcast explores race, religion, politics and more
►Breaking news and weather alerts: Get the free 10 Tampa Bay app
►Stay In the Know! Sign up now for the Brightside Blend Newsletter