The death toll stands at at least nine with 152 people still missing and their weary families waiting in agony almost four days after the incident.
Families of the missing visited the scene of the Florida condo building collapse as rescuers kept digging through the mound of rubble and clinging to hope that someone could yet be alive somewhere under the broken concrete and twisted metal.
On Sunday, the death toll rose by four, to a total of nine confirmed dead, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced.
But after almost four full days of search-and-rescue efforts, more than 150 additional people are still missing.
No one has been pulled alive from the pile since Thursday, hours after the collapse.
The outlook grew more and more grim by the hour, however, as the slow rescue operation, involving workers sorting nonstop through the rubble in torrid heat and high humidity, carried on.
"We were able to recover four additional bodies in the rubble... So I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine," Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters in Surfside, near Miami Beach, adding that one victim had died in hospital. "We've identified four of the victims and notified next of kin."
"We are making every effort to identify those others who have been recovered," she said in a morning briefing.
Six to eight squads, backed by two huge cranes and aided by sniffer dogs, are "on the pile actually searching at any given time," she added.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said debris with "forensic value" is being taken to a large warehouse to be inspected as investigators seek to determine the cause of the collapse.
And Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said accommodation was being found for anyone wishing to evacuate the tower's nearly identical "sister" building a block away, though no structural problems have yet been identified there.
READ MORE: Families hold onto hope as Miami building collapse toll rises to 9
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava: Death toll remains at 9, 4 more victims ID'd in Surfside condo collapse; victims' families visit site— WSVN 7 News (@wsvn) June 27, 2021
STORY - https://t.co/xz0XHY4dNa pic.twitter.com/1eBDPyOTM6
'If your children were in there ...'
Some families had hoped their visit would allow them to shout messages to loved ones possibly buried deep inside the pile.
Buses brought several groups of relatives to a place where they could view the pile and the rescuers at work.
As relatives returned to a nearby hotel, several paused to embrace as they got off the bus.
Others walked slowly with arms around each other back to the hotel entrance.
Some relatives have been frustrated with the pace of rescue efforts.
“My daughter is 26-years-old, in perfect health. She could make it out of there,” one mother told rescuers during a weekend meeting with family members.
A video of the meeting was posted by Instagram user Abigail Pereira.
“It’s not enough,” continued the mother, who was among relatives who pushed authorities to bring in experts from other countries to help.
“Imagine if your children were in there.”
READ MORE: 'Deep fire' slowing rescue effort at collapsed Florida condo as toll rises
Miami Dade @MayorDaniella just spoke in how family members were given the opportunity to visit the collapse site today.— Frances Wang (#FrannyInMiami) (@FrancesWangTV) June 27, 2021
Here’s why that matters to many of these families: pic.twitter.com/y3cIVGPWTE
Israeli and Mexican engineers and search-and-rescue specialists have joined an army of American workers at the site.
Teams in protective gear have been toiling round the clock since the early-morning Thursday collapse, but are only able to work a half-hour at a time before handing the job to the next crew.
"We don't have a resource problem," Burkett told ABC's "This Week." "We have a luck problem. We need to get more lucky right now."
The 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South pancaked in the middle of the night Thursday as residents slept.
Surveillance video of the collapse showed it coming down in just a few seconds.
About half of Surfside's population is Jewish, including many members of the Hasidic Chabad-Lubavitch movement, according to the Israeli media.
READ MORE: Anger at Miami disaster response as families demand answers
JUST IN: Video I’ve obtained of the building collapse in Surfside, Florida. pic.twitter.com/BGbRC7iSI9— Andy Slater (@AndySlater) June 24, 2021
Anger over 2018 damage survey
So far, four victims have been identified by local police: Gladys and Antonio Lozano, respectively aged 79 and 83; 54-year-old Stacie Fang, whose 15-year-old son was rescued from the debris Thursday; and Manuel LaFont, also 54.
At least 18 Latin American nationals are among the missing, including Uruguayans, Argentines and Paraguayans.
Canada has also said at least four of its citizens may be "affected," without elaborating.
Families of the missing have expressed mounting frustration and anger at the wait as concerns grow about the building's condition before the collapse.
Officials who spoke on Sunday repeatedly sought to reassure them that everything possible is being done.
"We're moving as fast as we can, as hard as we can," Miami-Dade fire chief Alan Cominsky told reporters.
Anger was fanned by news on Friday that an engineer's survey of the building in 2018 had pointed to "major structural damage" to a concrete slab beneath a ground-level pool deck, as well as "abundant" damage inside the parking garage.
Authorities have stressed that the reason for the collapse could take months to determine.
READ MORE: Many feared dead in Miami residential building collapse