AT least one person is dead after a 12-story apartment block partially collapsed near Miami beach, reports say.
Witnesses reportedly heard screams from the rubble as around 80 emergency crews responded to the incident in Surfside around 2am on Thursday.
Officials confirmed on Thursday afternoon that 99 people were still unaccounted for, 102 have been found, 35 people were pulled from the wreckage, and 11 of them were injured.
Footage shows a large section of the apartment building, called Champlain Towers South, that had collapsed into a pile of rubble near Collins Avenue on 88th Street, NBC Miami reports.
Authorities said they could hear “sounds of a possibility of people banging…well, not people banging but sounds of a possibility of a banging” from within the site.
It’s reported that Miami Dade authorities have declared a “Level 5” mass casualty event meaning statewide emergency resources are required.
Read of Miami Beach apartment collapse live blog for the latest news and updates…
VIDEO SHOWS THE HORRIFYING MOMENTS OF THE COLLAPSE
A local reporter shared video of the building collapse.
THE SEARCH FOR FAMILY AND FRIENDS CONTINUES
One woman named Yancy Ranalli is searching for three of her friends – Pilar, Julio, and Terry Velazquez.
She said that “she’s been trying to call them all morning, still hasn’t heard anything,” according to a tweet from a reporter on the scene.
ONE WOMAN DESPERATELY SEARCHES FOR HER HUSBAND
The woman said her husband, Brad Cohen, was on the 10th floor of the building. She has not heard from him since the collapse.
RECOVERY TEAMS TRY TO IDENTIFY ‘KNOCKING SOUNDS’
‘SOMBER’ SCENE AS FAMILY MEMBERS WAIT TO FIND THE MISSING
TENANT HAD BEEN ‘COMPLAINING ABOUT ROOF REPAIR’
One person residing in the building that collapsed was a “dear friend” who remains missing.
A reporter shared a message from someone who said their friend was staying in one of the now-exposed rooms.
“The apartment with the bunk beds and the desk chair is that being rented by our dear friend Linda March,” the person said. “She is an attorney who just moved back here from New York after recovering from COVID.”
“She had been complaining about the roof repair noise at the building. My texts to her are marked delivered but she has not answered,” the person said.
The exposed building revealed residents’ belongings hanging from the wreckage in horrific pictures.
Florida’s Chief Financial Officer & State Fire Marshal Jimmy Patronis posted an emotional image on Twitter as the 12-hour search continues.
He described the Florida firefighters as “heroes.”
WHAT, WHERE, AND WHO IS AFFECTED?
Reports indicate the area is a mix of new and old apartments, houses, condominiums and hotels.
There are also restaurants and stores serving residents and tourists, while the main oceanside drag is lined with glass-sided, luxury condominium buildings.
Residents include snowbirds, Russian immigrants and Orthodox Jewish families.
The tower does not keep track of when owners are in residence, Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said.
Miami man Nicholas Fernandez has been trying to call two friends who live there with building with their young daughter after coming to the US to avoid the outbreak in their home country of Argentina.
“The hope is that, perhaps, someone hears the call. I know there are dogs inside,” he said. “I know it may sound ridiculous what I’m saying but there’s always hope until we hear different.”
A total of nine people missing in the collapse were from Argentina, per the Argentine Consulate in Miami, while three Uruguayans were also missing, and four people from Venezuela.
The Shul of Bay Harbor launched fundraiser to help the victims & families affected by the Surfside collapse.
WHY DID IT HAPPEN?
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said there were “structural” issues and said engineers are determining the risk after the collapse and what caused it.
The Miami-Dade police will conduct the investigation after the search and rescue is complete.
“There will probably be federal resources involved in the investigation also,” Cava said.
Hours after the collapse, searchers were trying to reach a trapped child whose parents were believed to be dead.
Frank Rollason, director of Miami-Dade Emergency Management, told the Miami Herald that rescuers also saved a mother and child, but the woman’s leg had to be amputated to remove her from the rubble.
The Sun previously reported on a 10-year-old boy being rescued from the rubble but it was not clear whether he was the same person mentioned by Rollason.
You can read about the rescue here.
SOUNDS FROM THE RUBBLE
Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Ray Jadallah said they heard sounds from under the rubble.
He told reporters: “All operations are occurring underneath the rubble.
“They are occurring underneath the parking garage where we have teams of firefighters constantly as they continue making cuts, breaches and placing sonar devices, search cams to locate victims.
“We did receive sounds. Not necessarily people talking, but sounds. What sounds like people banging, not people but sounds of a possibility of a banging. We haven’t heard any voices coming from the pile.”
It isn’t clear what caused the collapse, though some have speculated it was a “sinkhole.”
Video footage appears to show the center of the building fall first, with a section nearest the ocean teetering and coming down seconds later as a huge dust cloud swallowed the surrounding area.
Work was being done on the building’s roof, but Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said he did not see how that could have been the cause.
AROUND THE CLOCK SEARCH
Mayor Cava noted that it has been 15 hours since disaster struck and noted that the family reunification center families were “being briefed.”
Cops said there was no injuries of firefighters and personnel.
The fire chief said first responders are adequately protected.
WHO IS ACCOUNTED FOR?
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said 102 people who have been accounted for.
During a press conference this afternoon, she said: “I want to give you a top number, very encouraging, 102 people have been accounted for.
“That’s double what we were able to report last time. One hundred and two people from the towers, their locations are known and they are safe.
She said 99 people are missing.
Teams of 10 to 12 rescuers were entering the rubble at a time with dogs and other equipment.
They work until they are too tired to do any more and then making way for a new team, said the state’s fire marshal Florida Chief Financial Officer Jimmy Patronis.
SCALE OF DISASTER
Gov Ron DeSantis, who toured the scene earlier today said television did not capture the scale of the disaster.
Rescue crews are “doing everything they can to save lives. That is ongoing, and they’re not going to rest,” he said.
BIDEN FORGETS TO ISSUE CONDOLENCES
Kamala Harris had to remind Joe Biden about the deadly Miami building collapse that’s left 99 people missing, footage appears to show.
The president had forgotten to mention the disaster until his VP stepped in on Thursday. He then told reporters: “O yes, I apologize, thank you.”
Read about the shocking blunder here (Picture credit: EPA).
BLOCKS FROM DISASTER
Jared and Ivanka Trump live just a block away from where the Champlain Tower South disaster struck.
The Hill reported that Donald Trump’s daughter lives nearby where the wing collapsed, killing one, injuring dozens, and leaving nearly 100 people unaccounted for.
Around a block and a half to the north of the affected building is also sealed off, reported WNYT.
Reports have repeatedly pointed out that authorities are struggling to identify how many people were in the building at the time of the collapse due to the mix of permanent residents and temporary visitors.
A home camera video has revealed the moment the Miami Beach apartment collapsed.
It’s since emerged that the roof has been under construction for a month before Champlain Tower South caved in.
NHL STAR ISSUES CONDOLENCES
Kevin Weekes said: “Prayers and condolences to all the affected with the collapse of the building in Surfside Miami.”
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