Rescue teams combed through the rubble of an oceanfront apartment block near Miami Beach that partially collapsed Thursday, killing at least one person and leaving another 99 unaccounted for amid fears of a much higher death toll.
An unknown number of residents are feared to have been asleep in the 12-story building, in the town of Surfside, when the collapse in the wee hours of Thursday morning reduced a large portion of it to a pile of debris, exposing the interiors of gutted apartments.
“One side of the building just fell completely. It doesn’t exist anymore,” said Nicolas Fernandez, 29, an Argentinian resident of Miami who had yet to hear from friends who were staying overnight in his family’s unit in the building. “I don’t know about them. I don’t know if they are alive,” he told AFP.
Authorities said they were still without news of 99 people who may have been inside the building when part of it came crashing down. So far 102 others have been accounted for, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
Search and rescue teams with sniffer dogs will work through the night, Levine Cava said. “As the day comes to an end, their day does not,” she said at an evening news conference, the last until Friday morning.
At a Surfside community center, relatives of the missing cried as they waited for news. Tenants of the ruined building who were lucky enough to have been away when disaster struck pondered sudden homelessness