Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) teams continue to search for survivors in the rubble of the residential condo tower that collapsed early the morning of June 24th in Surfside, Florida near Miami. The work has been extremely difficult as crews have been battling fires, heavy rain, and extreme humid conditions in the search for any survivors. The Miami-Dade Fire Department’s USAR team was on the scene within hours of the collapse. Tidal Basin’s Senior Vice President, Carlos Castillo, helped develop the U.S. Urban Search and Rescue System which has been used to help with responding to the Champlain Towers South building collapse. “I am proud of the team and the USAR system I helped develop and led. They are without a doubt among the best in the world,” said Castillo. “They will not stop until they are certain there are no live victims to be rescued,” he said. “Even after that determination, they will likely continue to locate victims who have perished in order to bring closure to friends and family.”
Castillo, who was been interviewed by several media outlets since the tragic collapse, told CNBC’s Shepard Smith “You would be surprised how much people can survive, and that’s the case here. So, we shouldn’t lose hope.” In an interview with NewsNation, Castillo said the “survival odds are long, but not impossible.” The former Miami-Dade Emergency Management Director and previous international responder with U.S. Aid said the first earthquake he responded to in 1988 taught him not to lose hope. “Five days after the earthquake, we rescued a 60-year-old woman who survived,” he said on NewsNation Prime. “She lived off rainwater whenever she could, but she was able to survive.”
Castillo, who also serves as Chief Development Officer for Tidal Basin and was the previous Acting Deputy Administrator for Resilience with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was interviewed by media outlets in West Palm Beach, NBC Telemundo, and CNN Espanol. “Communities come together in times like these and there is no lack of resources,” said Castillo. The Florida Division of Emergency Management, FEMA, and countless other government and nongovernmental organizations are helping. “Once the cause of the collapse is determined it will be time to prevent future incidents like this. Because any disaster can be prevented,” said Castillo.
Carlos Castillo’s Interviews can be viewed at the links below:
Th, June 24th – News19 – “Florida building collapse: 4 dead, 159 missing as survivor search continues”
Sat, June 26th – YouTube – Florida building collapse People need to stay hopeful rescue expert says
Mon, June 28th – The Washington Post – “‘Frantic effort’ to find condo collapse survivors continues, even as hope dwindles”
- Tues, June 29th – Yahoo! News – “Search for possible survivors of Florida condo collapse continues as 150 unaccounted for”