Fears Miami Beach luxury apt building collapse death toll will soar after official says 51 people are unaccounted for as dramatic footage emerges of moment 12-story building crumbled overnight, leaving at least one dead
Huge emergency search and rescue operation is underway after the beachfront condo tower, Champlain Towers South, collapsed at about 1.30am Thursday morning in the Miami neighborhood of Surfside
One woman has been confirmed dead and at least 10 people were injured, as officials say they have yet to account for 51 people who are believed to have lived in the building
It was unclear whether any, or all of them, were inside at the time of the collapse
First responders rescued 35 people from the damaged building and two people, including a young boy, were pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the search operation
Rescue teams are currently using machinery and dogs to help trawl the wreckage for any survivors with hope of rescuing more people or recovering bodies trapped under the rubble
The building, which contains about 136 apartments, of which 55 were destroyed. Authorities said the building was ‘substantially full’ when it collapsed
Cause of collapse is yet to be determined, but authorities have confirmed that renovations had been underway on the roof
Authorities say 51 people are currently unaccounted for after a 12-story Miami Beach apartment building collapsed overnight.
Horrifying surveillance footage, obtained by WSVN, has emerged showing the moment the Champlain Towers South beachfront building collapsed at about 1.30am this morning in Miami’s Surfside neighborhood, sending a huge cloud of debris into the air.
So far the death toll stands at one as hundreds of fire and rescue workers and K9 units continue to work through tons of rubble in search of any survivors. Authorities confirmed one woman h and at least 10 people injured when the building collapsed.
Thirty-five people were rescued from the damaged building. Two people, including a young boy, were pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the search operation. Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman told CNN that officials have yet to account for 51 people who are believed to have lived in the building. It was unclear whether any, or all of them, were inside at the time of the collapse.
Rescue teams are currently using machinery and dogs to help trawl the wreckage for any survivors. Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped under the rubble.
‘The building has literally pancaked,’ Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said.
‘That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean to me that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive.’
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said it was possible that more victims could be found in the rubble, saying: “We’ll hope for the best in terms of additional recoveries, but we are bracing for some bad news, just given the destruction that we’re seeing.’
Horrifying moment 12-story Miami Beach apartment building collapses
Emergency crews were going from balcony to balcony with a fire ladder on the side of the building that was left standing, seemingly looking for people who might be trapped.
Surfside Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer said search and rescue operations could “play out for days.” A lightning storm was complicating those efforts Thursday morning.
According to the records the Champlain Towers South, was built in 1981. It is located across from a sandy beach in the oceanfront community of about 6,000 people. The building was undergoing the process of inspection for its 40-year recertification, which takes about a year, Salzhauer said.
The nearby “sister-building,” Champlain Towers North, was built around the same time, according to the commissioner.
Hundreds of firefighters were seen walking through the wreckage, picking up other survivors and carrying them away. Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped under the rubble
Two people, including the young boy, were pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the search operation.
The man who heard his cries said in an interview with MSNBC said: “He was saying ‘can you see me? Can you see me? Please help.’ Nicholas Balboa said he was walking his dog when he heard the thunderous sound of the building collapsing. He ran to the scene and saw the boy who was rescued stick his hand through the rubble. ”
Balboa said he went over to the trapped boy and flagged police.
“I just told him ‘we’re here. We’re not going to leave you,'” Balboa said.
The police officer that came told us to move back and I basically told him I’m not leaving. You’ll have to arrest me first.”
“It looked like it took somewhere between half an hour to an hour to get him out of there. He was pinned pretty good,” he said. “He said his mother was in there with him. I couldn’t hear her. I couldn’t see her. So I mean I hope and pray that she’s OK.”
So far 35 people have been rescued from the damaged building by the teams of first responders.
The building is located one block away from where Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump currently live had 136 apartments. 55 were destroyed. Authorities say the building was ‘substantially full’ when it collapsed. The collapse left a number of units in the still-standing part of the building exposed.
Bunk beds, tables and chairs could be seen still left inside the damaged apartments. Air conditioner units were hanging from some parts of the building where wires now dangled.
Photos and video from the scene show the collapse affected half the tower. Piles of rubble and debris surrounded the area just outside the building. The debris from the collapse coated cars up to two blocks away with a light layer of dust.
Causes of the collapse have not determined but local authorities confirmed that renovations had been underway on the roof in recent weeks.
Mayor Burkett said it was unlikely that the roof work had anything to do with the collapse, instead describing it as a ‘catastrophic failure’ of the building.
‘It’s hard to imagine how this could have happened,’ Burkett said. ‘Buildings just don’t fall down.
‘There’s no reason for this building to go down like that unless someone literally pulls the supports out from underneath.’
Burkett suggested that potential causes could be the result of the foundations being washed out or a sinkhole.
The Miami-Dade Police have assumed control of the investigation as to why the building collapsed.
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One witness, who was staying in the south Florida island city with his family, was in a neighboring building at the time and said the collapse sounded and felt like a tornado or earthquake.
‘It was the craziest thing I ever heard in my life,’ he told Fox News.
Witnesses claimed to have heard people screaming beneath the rubble during frantic efforts to free them from the wreckage of the building.
One witness told NBC: ‘They are able to rescue some people but I heard some screams.’
When the building initially collapsed, more than 80 rescue units were on the scene, including designated teams skilled in retrieving bodies from wreckages.
The sea-view condo development was built in 1981 in the southeast corner of Surfside, on the beach. It had a few two-bedroom units currently on the market, with asking prices of $600,000 to $700,000.
The area is a mix of new and old apartments, houses, condominiums and hotels, with restaurants and stores serving an international combination of residents and tourists.
The community provides a stark contrast from bustle and glitz of South Beach with a slower paced neighborhood feel.