As the death toll rose to nine with more than 150 people still missing, rescue teams on Sunday kept picking through the rubble of the Florida apartment building that collapsed three days ago, as questions swirled about the tower’s structural integrity.
Officials in Surfside, the shore town near Miami where the building stood along the oceanfront, said hope remained that search teams would discover survivors in air pockets that may have formed in the pancaked debris.
Even so, Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said on Sunday crews had yet to find any signs of life.
“It’s an extremely difficult situation,” Mr Cominsky said.
Two large cranes and two backhoes worked to remove the debris – a contrast from Saturday when the machines were idled and workers were forced to clear rubble by hand.
An American flag atop one of the cranes rippled in the stiff ocean breeze. Visitors had placed flowers alongside a plastic barrier on the beach that kept onlookers at bay.