On the morning of June 24 (Thursday), a huge search-and-rescue effort was launched just north of Miami Beach after a 12-story residential building partially collapsed in the middle of the night.
According to fire and rescue personnel, the collapse inside the Champlain Towers South complex, a 40-year-old structure with more than 136 apartments in total, damaged about 55 residential units.
At least 46 people have died with many more lives feared to be in danger, according to the Miami-Dade County police.
The building collapsed around 1:30 a.m. The structure caved in on itself in 15 seconds, leaving piles of rubble and a large plume of dust and debris behind, according to video acquired by local TV station WSVN.
Authorities claimed they don’t know exactly how many people are still missing, but Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Ray Jadallah told reporters that rescuers have assisted at least 35 individuals who were trapped inside the building so far.
The entire side of the building was destroyed, with tons of rubble, cables, and metal piled across the east side of the complex facing the Atlantic Ocean, as per images shared online.
The mayor of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, said it was too early to say what caused the building to collapse, but that investigators were already on the scene with engineers and other emergency services.
The Miami-Dade Police Department’s director, Freddy Ramirez, said his department is leading the investigation into the collapse and is working with the city of Surfside. Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is in charge of the site’s emergency management and has set up a family reunion facility around half a mile away.Embed from Getty Images