SURFSIDE: A 12-story oceanfront residential building near Miami left at least one person dead and 99 unaccounted for after it partially collapsed on Thursday.
Daniella Levine Cava, mayor of Miami-Dade County, said that from the residents of the 130 units of the building, around 102 had been accounted for. However, about 99 are still untraceable.
Upon the collapse, hundreds of rescuers emerged on the site and began scouring through the rubble for survivors. Sonar cameras and trained dogs were some of the tools that came to the aid of the rescuers.
Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said, “Fire and rescue are in there with their search team, with their dogs.” “They’re in search-and-rescue mode, and they will be in that mode for a while. They are not quitting. They’re going to work through the night. They are not stopping,” he added.
The search team also detected “Banging” sounds, but none of them was reported to come from the debris.
The searching process is slow due to fears of further rubble collapsing on top of the search team.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue assistant fire chief Ray Jadallah said, “Any time we started breaching parts of the structure, we get rubble falling on us.”
In addition, never-ending rain and storms are also acting as a hindrance to the already tricky rescuing process.
Authorities are also obtaining DNA samples from the relatives of the ones that are still missing. This is to ensure that the bodies that are found can be identified.
The relatives of those still missing are gathered at a community center a few blocks from the collapsed building. They anxiously await further information about their loved ones’ whereabouts while still fearing the worst. Appeals have been made on social media for any relevant information that could help them find their family members.
Nicolas Fernandez, one such individual, stated that his attempts at contacting his missing loved ones have failed.
“I think they’re gone,” Fernandez told CBS. “I don’t want to be pessimistic, but we’ve been calling them non-stop with no reply.”
Jenny Urgelles received the news about her parents’ building collapsing upon waking up. She called them, but neither of them picked up.
“I am holding on to hope. I’m very desperate to know what’s happening,” she said in a statement to a local news channel.
For those who witnessed the collapse, a thunder-like sound was followed by a massive cloud of dust as part of the oceanfront building came crumbling down. The event was compared to September 11, 2001.
Resident Barry Cohen told the BBC, “It sounded like thunder, and my wife and I, we went out on the balcony; it looked like a bomb had exploded, dirt and dust and smoke all over the place.”
As per the officials, the building was constructed in 1981 and was undergoing a recertification process in need of repairs. A new building was also being built next to it. However, as for the cause of the collapse, an official statement is yet to be made.
If you or a loved has lost someone are involved in a personal injury lawsuit and needs funds to get you through your finances with ease, apply for a lawsuit loan with Baker Street Funding. We could help you get an advance on your injury lawsuit until your case settles.