Update: 159 unaccounted for following  building collapse in Miami

Avatar admin | June 25, 2021

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The number of people listed as missing after the collapse of a 12-storey building in the US city of Miami has risen to 159, officials say. Four people are known to have died.

The collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach, was reported around 1:30 a.m, on Thursday, June 24. 

The mayor of Miami-Dade says they “still have hope” of finding survivors. Search teams working around the clock have reported hearing people banging beneath the debris.

What caused the 40-year-old building to collapse remains unclear.

At least 102 people have now been accounted for, but it is uncertain how many were in the building when it came down. Dozens of people have been evacuated from what is left of the structure.

President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Florida, meaning the Federal Emergency Management Agency (Fema) will help state agencies with the relief effort.

Overnight hundreds of rescuers used sonar cameras and specially trained dogs as they scoured the rubble for survivors. Teams were tunnelling from an underground car park below the building in an effort to reach victims.

The mayor of Surfside, where the disaster happened, Charles Burkett, said at an early-morning news conference that some 15 families had walked out of the building.

“It’s heartbreaking because it doesn’t seem to me… that we will find people alive,” Mr Burkett said.

However, on Friday Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said they would do “everything possible” to locate survivors.

“We will continue search and rescue because we still have hope that we will find people alive,” she said.

A full investigation will begin after the rescue mission.

As the building has stood since 1980, it was due its standard 40-year review. The building was undergoing its “recertification” process and required repairs, officials said.

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