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President Biden to visit site of South Florida building collapse Thursday

Over 100 people were still unaccounted for at the start of the week after the collapse of a beachfront condo building in Surfside, Florida.

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden will travel to Florida on Thursday, to the site of a collapsed beachfront condominium building in the community of Surfside, just outside of Miami. 

The confirmed death toll stood at 12 by late Tuesday, and 149 people were still unaccounted by Tuesday night as search and rescue operations entered the sixth day. 

President Biden spoke to reporters Tuesday as he departed the White House on a trip to Wisconsin to promote the country's infrastructure needs. When asked if he planed to travel to Florida, Biden responded, "Yes, I hope so...as soon as we can, maybe as early as Thursday."

Shortly after his remarks, the White House confirmed the president and first lady would be traveling Thursday to Surfside, Florida. 

A day earlier, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Biden hadn't visited yet in order to not divert resources away from ongoing search and rescue operations. 

“In terms of a visit by the president, we always want to ensure that we’re not pulling from local resources. We don’t want to draw resources that are needed in the ongoing search and rescue operations,” Pskai said, and Politico reported earlier in the week.

Biden has said he supports a full investigation by federal agencies on the cause of the collapse. 

The White House confirmed multiple times in the days after the collapse that the Biden administration has remained in close contact with local authorities for updates. 

As Politico reported, personnel from federal agencies including FEMA, the FBI, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the National Institutes of Standards and Practices have experts in Florida investigating the cause, or causes, of the collapse to work to prevent a tragedy like this from ever happening again.

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