Close to zero chance of finding Florida collapse victims alive: rescuer

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An Israeli colonel leading a rescue team at the site of the Florida building collapse said Sunday that there is a “close to zero” chance at finding survivors in the rubble.

“I believe right now that the chances are close to zero, unfortunately,” Col. Golan Vach told WPLG-TV in an interview Sunday.

“The circumstances that we saw at the last two days are too difficult for me to say professionally that I believe that there is a solid chance to find somebody alive,” Vach said.

He said despite reports that some survivors of the deadly 2010 earthquake in Haiti were found alive after a week or more, it’s unlikely that would be the case here after 10 days.

Vach said rescue crews have been honest about the odds with relatives of the missing victims, who have been housed at a nearby hotel holding out hope.

“We are talking with the families, we are with the families, and we are going through this difficult process hand in hand with them. And we’re trying to be hopeful,” he said. “And we share our thoughts and our observations about the chances.”

Officials said 24 people have been confirmed dead at the site of the June 24 collapse of the beachfront condo building in Surfside — while 121 remain missing.

Vach is part of an Israeli National Rescue Unit dispatched to the site to help the recovery effort, with seven members of the team set to remain in Surfside in anticipation of the demolition of an unstable portion of the building that’s still standing.

That demolition is due to take place as early as Sunday night, officials said.

The Israeli crew has joined hundreds of first-responders from throughout the US who have flocked to the scene to assist in rescue efforts.

Vach said Sunday that it has been a combined and committed operation.

“It’s not ‘us,’ it’s ‘we,’ ” he said. “We are all in this difficult situation. In many situations, this operation is not easy. But it’s us, it’s not we.

“We talk every night,” the colonel added. “We summarize. Sometimes we cry. It’s natural. But we are tough guys. This is our job, and we will do it as best as we can.”

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