SURFSIDE, Fla. – Officials confirmed on Saturday that Binx the cat, who lived on the ninth level of the South Florida condo complex that collapsed last month, had been found safe and restored to his family (AEST).
On Thursday night, a black cat resembling Binx was spotted near the ruins of the Surfside building and taken to The Kitty Campus’s neighboring site in Miami Beach, according to Gina Nicole Vlasek, co-founder of The Kitty Campus.
On Friday, a former Champlain Towers South resident came to The Kitty Campus and confirmed that the kitten was hers, according to Vlasek.
Vlasek added, “We are so grateful to be able to contribute in whatever tiny manner.”
Binx was recognized by a volunteer who had been feeding cats near the fallen building, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during a news conference Friday evening.
“I’m delighted that this minor miracle may bring some joy to a mourning family today and give a bright spot for our entire community in the face of this awful tragedy,” Levine Cava said.
Animal control workers are continuing to deploy live traps in the area, according to the mayor, in the hopes of collecting pets who may have escaped the catastrophic collapse.
On June 24, the 12-story structure fell in the early morning hours.
After the discovery of more than a dozen bodies, the death toll jumped to 79 confirmed casualties.
On Friday evening, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava reported 61 individuals are still missing. 53 people have been recognized out of the 79 confirmed deceased.
The identities of eight more victims were revealed by Miami-Dade police on Friday afternoon. Sophia López Moreira, the sister of Paraguay’s first lady, was among them, as was Moreira’s husband, Luis Pettengill, and one of their three children, 3-year-old Luis Lopez Moreira III.
Crews continued to work around the clock despite a somber shift in mission from rescuing people to recovering remains.
“The pile, which was once four or five stories high, is now practically at ground level,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett, who praised the initiatives’ recent success.
On-site staff have also devised a protocol for collecting and returning personal objects found among the wreckage, according to Burkett.
The recovery mission, according to Levine Cava, is “moving forward with great urgency” to deliver families news and closure as soon as possible. According to Levine Cava, more than 6 million kilos of concrete and debris have been removed from the site as of Friday.