'We're going to work as hard and as fast as we can, no matter what': Va. Task Force 2 continues work at collapsed condo site

Posted at 6:18 AM, Jul 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-08 06:20:27-04

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. - Crews with Virginia Task Force 2 (VATF-2), based in Virginia Beach, are now moving into their second week in Florida, helping search through the rubble of the collapsed Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside.

More than 80 people are part of the urban search and rescue team.

They're currently staying on a Royal Caribbean cruise ship while in Florida, but there's nothing relaxing about this trip.

The team is divided up into two groups working twelve-hour shifts.

They're assigned specific grids to search.

One of the team's leaders, Capt. Jim Ingledue, says although it looks chaotic, they have a good idea of where things are in the debris based on modeling and mapping done by specialists on site.

"As we clear the rubble and we dig down, we can start identifying things that are in the building, and then it helps you understand where you are," said Ingledue.

On Wednesday the call was made to officially transition from a rescue to a recovery effort, but Ingledue says it doesn't change their approach.

"We're going to work as hard and as fast as we can no matter what, because there is that aspect of, if there is a victim that is now deceased, there are family members that are still alive that care very much about that person. So if we're not rescuing the person that was in the building, we are, in a sense, rescuing the surviving family that was outside the building," said Ingledue.

They expect to be there for at least another week.

VATF-2 is one of 28 urban search and rescue teams nationwide supported by the federal government.