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Miami condo collapse: 99 feared missing in rubble

At least one person is dead and more deaths feared after the partial collapse of a condominium in a community north of Miami Beach.
Published Jun. 24
Updated Jun. 25

At least one person is dead and more deaths are feared following the partial collapse early Thursday of a condominium in an oceanfront community north of Miami Beach.

There are as many as 99 people reported missing, according to the Miami-Dade Police Director, Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez, the Miami Herald is reporting.

Lt. Carlos Rosario, a top aide for Ramirez, warned that the numbers may be inaccurate, and are “the best we have right now,” the Herald reports. Ramirez is unsure how officials settled on 99 missing. He said it may be a combination of people coming forward with a missing loved one, property records supplying more information, or a property manager gave a list of names, the Herald is reporting.

At a Thursday afternoon news conference, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said 102 people have been accounted for.

• • •

The Tampa Bay Times will keep you updated with the latest developments here.

MIAMI BUILDING COLLAPSE: Here’s what you need to know.

MISSING RESIDENTS: Family members search for information about their missing loved ones.

SEARCH AND RESCUE: How first responder crews train for emergency recovery missions.

INSPECTION PROCESS: What went wrong?

COULD THIS HAPPEN IN TAMPA BAY: Decades-old condos dot the coastline of Pinellas and Hillsborough counties, and the rest of Florida.

• • •

More of the building may collapse and first responders remain in danger as they conduct search and rescue operations at the 12-story tower, built in 1981 and part of the Champlain Towers complex, Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett told reporters.

”It’s a really, really tragic situation,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a news conference Thursday morning. “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.

I think this is going to be a really difficult day.”

The governor said he’s spoken with the Bal Harbour and Surfside mayors and plans to go to the area today. He said the state is going to help in any way it can. He thanked first responders and said the building was 80 percent occupied. DeSantis declared a state of emergency Thursday night.

HOW TO HELP: Ways to support the Surfside community after the collapse.

Daniella Levine Cava, mayor of Miami-Dade County, has called on DeSantis to declare a state of emergency. DeSantis declared a state of emergency just after 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The Champlain Towers were sinking into the ground at a dangerous rate in the 1990s, a Florida International University researcher found. FIU professor Shimon Wdowinski’s findings were reported by USA Today.

The building was sinking at a rate of about 2 millimeters per year, which Wdowinski said could cause structural issues, USA Today reports. The official cause of the collapse has not yet been determined.

DeSantis announced that short-term hotels are being arranged for displaced residents.

President Joe Biden called Cava to offer the support of the federal government.

Miami-Dade Fire Chief Ray Jadallah said 55 units collapsed. One couple was thankful for their rescue from a “gaping hole of rubble.

Earlier today, rescuers were desperately trying to get to a trapped child who was discovered by a rescue dog out of a garage.

Location of Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, near Miami FL.
Location of Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, near Miami FL. [ Paul Alexander ]

Hundreds of family members are waiting at a reunification center.

Here’s video of the building collapsing:

Here is video from Twitter of a boy being rescued from the rubble:

Here’s a live feed of Miami-Dade officials updating people on the latest:

A home insurance inspector in South Florida told the Miami Herald this morning that the collapse “defies logic.”

The Herald also will be a great resource for people to keep up on the latest on this story. Here’s what they know at this point about the building.

A family reunification center has been set up by officials looking for loved ones who live at the condo. A hotline also has been set up, according to the Herald.

POLITICIANS REACT

First Lady Jill Biden spoke about the incident at a news conference Thursday afternoon.

“I would like to say how saddened the president and I were to hear about the building in Miami that crumbled,” she said. “Our hearts are with all Floridians today.”

The White House issued a statement after President Biden and his aides spoke with local officials.

Elected officials, including Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, have started to talk about the collapse on social media.

Here is DeSantis weighing in:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Val Demings has also commented:

And here is Florida Sen. Rick Scott:

Republican U.S. Rep. Maria Elvira Salazar, whose district includes Surfside:

Democratic U.S. Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, who represents Surfside:

U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, who represents St. Petersburg and is running for governor, released this statement:

”I’m heartbroken over the tragic collapse of the Champlain Towers South condo – where many are still unaccounted for. As brave first responders race against time to save lives, we need a full, thorough and transparent investigation to get to the bottom of how this happened, and quickly.”