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Kentuckians join team to help in condo collapse search effort

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Posted at 3:49 PM, Jul 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-06 11:51:02-04

(LEX 18) — Ohio Task Force 1 is in Surfside, Florida helping in the search for victims after the condo collapse last month.

The team of 80 has three Kentuckians on it and has been in the area since Thursday night. Program Manager Evan Schumann said they are living on a cruise ship and work in 12-hour shifts.

Ever since the Champlain Towers South building was demolished Sunday, Schumann said they are now able to search easier and more aggressively.

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"We're doing really good and now that we can engage in quality operations consistently, that too will help," Schumann said.

It's a careful and methodical process.

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"Every time you de-layer something then you bring the canines back out and you see if they hit on anything and if they do then you bring out a technical search person and put a search camera down there and look around and look and see if you can actually see somebody," he described. "What you absolutely don't want to do is grab a whole chunk of the pile with a crane and end up damaging or destroying what might be a person under there. Even if they are deceased, we absolutely treat them with utmost respect because we want to get something back to the family because they are, of course, in a horrible state right now."

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While they're exercising care looking for victims, they also have to take care of themselves. Schumann said it's an emotionally and physically draining process, but they're looking out for each other.

"People that are willing to pray for our people, give them good wishes, that also helps," he added.

Prayers and well wishes are welcomed as they try to bring answers to so many families who have been left without them for 11 days now.