Joe and Jill Biden take off to visit site of collapsed Miami condo and meet rescue crews and families waiting for news of the 145 residents still missing
- President Biden and First Lady Jill will spend hours meeting with relatives waiting for news of the missing
- They will also speak to first responders searching for any survivors in the rubble of the apartment complex
- The condo collapse in Surfside on June 24 has killed 18 people so far and 145 are still missing
- Two sisters, 10-year-old Lucia and 4-year-old Emma Guara, were among the latest victims identified
- A new video released overnight purports to show water gushing from the ceiling of the building just seven minutes before it collapsed
President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill will spend Thursday stepping into the role of consoler-in-chief, with trip to visit to Surfside, Florida where he will spend hours meeting with families of the 145 residents still missing in the building collapse and rescue teams searching for survivors.
The president, who speaks frequently of grief and has bonded with families of school shooting victims and others touched by loss by invoking his own life tragedies, is making the trip at an uncertain time.
There is new information coming in about water damage that may have triggered the collapse, and documents revealing the condo building’s efforts to contend with ballooning roof and structural repair estimates.
The death toll rose to 18 on Wednesday night, with sisters Lucia, 10, and Emma Guara, four, among the latest victims identified.
There were reports early Thursday morning that recovery efforts had to be paused amid instability in the pile of rubble where part of the tower north of Miami once stood.
In a sign of the sensitivity of the situation, the White House released only scant details about the trip until late Wednesday – ultimately releasing a bare-bones schedule that carves out time for individual meetings with concerned family members that have become a hallmark of Biden’s identity.
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President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden depart from Joint Base Andrews en route to Miami, Florida, to visit the site of the collapsed condo where 18 have died and 145 are still missing. They were joined by Col. William McDonald, 89th Airlift Wing Vice Commander, and his wife Diana
The president lost his first wife and daughter to a car accident shortly before being sworn in as a senator, and his adult son, Beau, succumbed to brain cancer. He frequently shares his own grief when connecting with families who have lost loved ones or otherwise dealt with tragedy.
Officials and engineers are still seeking to uncover what caused the collapse of part of the Champlain Towers South building in Miami last week, leading to the death of at least 18 people, with 145 still unaccounted for.
The White House organized an unusually early departure for Biden, who left the White House around 7 am. He didn’t speak to reporters at either opportunity, and didn’t respond to a shouted question about the indictment of Allen Weisselberg, longtime Trump Organization exec, in New York.
Traveling with the president is senior advisor Anita Dunn, deputy chief of staff Jen O’Malley Dillon, and FEMA head Deanne Criswell, as well as aides speechwriters, and other assistants. Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz is also joining him on Air Force One.
After landing in Miami, Biden will meet with Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Governor Ron DeSantis, as well as local leaders and first responders
The White House has released very few details about the trip and will be at the collapse site all day. Biden will meet with first responders and the family members waiting for news of their loved ones
Biden salutes at the top of the stairs to Air Force One with Jill before their flight to Florida
Officials and engineers are still seeking to uncover what caused the collapse of part of the Champlain Towers South building in Miami last week, leading to the death of at least 18 people, with 145 still unaccounted for
The video recorded seven minutes before the building collapsed shows water pouring down from the ceiling of the garage. It comes amid concerns from a structural engineer that the swimming pool deck may have caved in first and brought down the rest of the building with it, as corroborated by witnesses who say that sections of the pool deck had collapsed into the garage below
A new video purports to show water gushing from the ceiling of the Miami condo building’s garage while concrete debris litters the floor