As many as four people have died while 159 are missing following a collapse of a 12-storey building in Miami, the United States of America, official reports say.
The tragic incident happened on Thursday around 1:30 am American time as the 40-year-old Champlain Towers South condominium collapsed in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach.
The mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava announced that the emergency agencies “still have hope” of finding survivors. Rescue teams deployed to the scene are working tirelessly and have reported hearing people banging beneath the debris.
At least 102 people have now been accounted for, but it is not clear how many were in the building when it came down. It was also gathered that dozens of people have been evacuated from what is left of the building.
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.
According to BBC reports, overnight hundreds of rescuers used sonar cameras and specially trained dogs as they scoured the rubble for survivors. Also, search teams were tunnelling from an underground car park below the building in an effort to reach victims.
The mayor of Surfside, where the tragedy struck, 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, 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.
The report also revealed that a full investigation will begin into what caused the downfall of the building after the rescue mission.
As the building has stood since 1980, it was due to its standard 40-year review. The building was undergoing its “recertification” process and required repairs, officials said.
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