Rescuers search around the clock for survivors of Florida building collapse | Inquirer News
Close  

Rescuers search around the clock for survivors of Florida building collapse

/ 09:11 PM June 26, 2021

A man reacts as people hang up signs of missing residents from the partial collapse in Surfside where the rescue personnel continue their search for victims the day after in Surfside near Miami Beach, Florida, U.S., June 25, 2021. REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona

SURFSIDE, Florida — Prospects for recovering survivors from a Florida high-rise diminished with each passing hour on Saturday, two full days after the 12-story condominium mysteriously collapsed while many residents slept.

Even so, search-and-rescue teams worked around the clock through an unstable mountain of debris looking for signs of life from any of the 159 people still unaccounted for, while smoldering fires filled the air with smoke.

ADVERTISEMENT

The death toll of four was certain to rise with one floor of the high-rise stacked atop another like pancakes. Aided by dogs, cameras, sonar, and heavy equipment, rescuers looked for any spaces that may have formed in the debris, leaving any possible survivors air to breathe.

“We have hope because that’s what our search-and-rescue team tells us, that they have hope,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told a news conference on Friday.

FEATURED STORIES

Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky told reporters that rescue operations would continue throughout the night.

While local officials provided aid and comfort to the families, such as hotel rooms and food, search-and-rescue specialists worked the disaster site on a rotation, with a limited number allowed at any one time to prevent further collapse, Levine Cava said.

Teams from Mexico and Israel arrived to help relieve the locally based crews, many of whom have also traveled to disaster sites around the world.

Atop the pile, some wielded hammers and picks looking for signs of life. Heavy equipment scraped away the top layer.

Below ground, rescuers who entered through the parking garage risked their own lives searching for survivors, occasionally being hit by falling debris, officials said.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Andy Alvarez recalled that his team once pulled a girl out of earthquake debris in Haiti eight days into the rescue effort.

“You gotta have hope. We’re doing everything we can to bring your family member out alive,” Alvarez told the loved ones of the missing on CNN, pausing as he was overcome with emotion.

ADVERTISEMENT

The disaster occurred early on Thursday morning when a large section of the 40-year-old building crumbled to the ground.

Video captured by a security camera showed an entire side of the building suddenly folding in two sections, one after the other, at about 1:30 a.m. (0530 GMT), throwing up clouds of dust.

The Champlain Towers South condominium is in Surfside, a barrier island town across Biscayne Bay from Miami.

The building had more than 130 units, about 80 of which were occupied, officials said. Roughly half appear to have collapsed.

The cause of the collapse remained a mystery.

Officials said the complex, built in 1981, was going through a recertification process and repairs to the roof.

/MUF

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.
Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: building, collapse, Florida
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and
acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.



© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.