Search and rescue teams are working around the clock, combing through twisted steel and concrete as they look for any signs of life in the aftermath of the collapse of portions of a high-rise condominium building early Thursday in Surfside, Florida, just north of Miami Beach.
At least one person was killed, authorities said, and families are desperate to find their loved ones. Ninety-nine people were unaccounted for at last word.
Another 102 were accounted for. At least 11 were treated at the scene and four of them were taken to hospitals.
The 12-story structure had 136 units and officials said 55 on the northeast side were involved in the collapse.
President Biden declared a state of emergency in Florida, on top of the ones declared by Governor Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
The tower was built 41 years ago on reclaimed wetlands. CBS Miami quotes Florida International University earth and environment professor Shimon Wdowinski as saying the land under the building was slowly sinking for decades. The sinking was measured at a rate of two millimeters a year during the 1990s. But he stressed that alone wouldn’t cause a building to collapse.
The Miami Herald quotes a resident as saying nearby construction last year caused the building to shake.
The lawyer for the building’s condo association, Ken Direktor, told CBS Miami it was undergoing a required 40-year recertification but “nothing appeared either to the engineers or to any of the residents that suggests anything like this was imminent. Nothing.”