Death toll in Miami condo building collapse rises to 4 and 159 remain missing – National
Officials say four people are dead and there are still 159 people unaccounted for after the partial collapse of a beachside building in Miami, Florida.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava noted Friday that rescue officials were still searching for survivors from the condo building collapse in Surfside, saying that a search and rescue mission was ongoing.
Raide Jadallah, an assistant Miami-Dade County fire chief, said rescue operations continued throughout the night. He said that 130 firefighters are working at the site.
Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said they are working with the medical examiner’s office to identify the four victims.
U.S. President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration in the state of Florida and ordered federal assistance to supplement state and local response efforts.
“The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts,” the White House said on Friday.
Rescue crews picked through tons of rubble on Thursday looking for survivors.
Many feared dead after condo building partially collapses in Miami
Search teams detected sounds of banging and other noises but no voices coming from the mounds of debris hours after a large section of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, a barrier island town across Biscayne Bay from the city, crumbled to the ground, authorities said.
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Footage captured by a security camera nearby showed an entire side of the building crumbling in two sections, one after the other, throwing up clouds of dust at about 1:30 a.m. (0530 GMT) on Thursday.
What caused the 40-year-old high-rise to cave in within seconds was not immediately known, although local officials said the 12-story tower was undergoing roof construction and other repairs.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters on Thursday 99 people remained unaccounted for some 18 hours after the collapse, though some may not have been in the building at the time.
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Officials said the complex, built-in 1981, was going through a re-certification process requiring repairs, with another building under construction on an adjacent site.
The Champlain Towers South had more than 130 units, about 80 of which were occupied. It had been subject to various inspections recently due to the re-certification process and the adjacent building construction, Surfside Commissioner Charles Kesl told Local 10.
— With files from the Associated Press