The death toll from the Grenfell Tower fire is believed to be around 80, but the true total of those killed in the devastating blaze may not be known until the end of the year, police say.
Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said the vast majority of the 80 were from just 23 flats spread between the 11th and 23rd floors.
She revealed some flats are still too dangerous for police to carry out further investigation, and that one couple presumed dead were actually on holiday.
The detective said contact has been made with at least one person from 106 of the 129 flats in the building, and from those flats 18 are dead or assumed dead, while the remaining victims were thought to have been in the flats which had not been heard from.
Discussing the difficulty in putting a definite figure on the number of dead, she said a list of tenants provided to police by the Kensington and Chelsea Tenants Management Organisation (TMO) , which managed the building, was “not accurate”.
She said: “We are many months from being able to provide a number which we believe accurately represents the total loss of life inside Grenfell Tower.
“Only after we have completed a search and recovery operation, which will take until the end of the year.
“What I can say is that we believe that around 80 people are either dead or sadly missing and I must presume that they are dead.”
Efforts to establish who was missing in the wake of the fire were focused on talking to friends, families and neighbours of those in Grenfell Tower, Ms McCormack said.
She continued: “On the first day of our work we were provided with a list by the tenant management organisation of who they had recorded living at Grenfell Tower.
“We quickly identified by the end of the first day that this list was not accurate.”
She added: “What we know is that it would be impossible for anyone to produce a list to show exactly who was at Grenfell Tower that night , that includes the people who were living there or who were visiting.
“There are 23 flats that despite huge investigative efforts, we have been unable to trace anyone that lives there.
“At this stage, we must presume, that no-one in those flats survived, that includes anyone who lived there or was visiting them.”
Police have examined “every imaginable source” of information about who was in the building, “from government agencies to fast food companies”, she added.
A couple who were missing and assumed dead had actually been on holiday at the time of the blaze, according to the detective.
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