99 people unaccounted for after building collapses in Miami Beach, killing at least one

A partial building collapse has killed at least one person and injured 10 in Miami Beach.

More than 80 fire and rescue units were at the scene of the collapse in the town of Surfside, with images showing a pile of rubble with debris spilling down from what was left of the balconies of the building.

MBPD and @MiamiBeachFire are assisting the Town of Surfside at a partial building collapse located at 8777 Collins Avenue in Surfside, Florida. Multiple police and fire agencies from across Miami-Dade are assisting. Please follow @MiamiDadeFire for updated information. pic.twitter.com/8tORIfZfjY

— Miami Beach Police (@MiamiBeachPD) June 24, 2021

Surfside’s mayor Charles Burkett confirmed that at least one person had died, while officials say 10 were injured.

Mr Burkett warned during a news conference that the building manager told him the tower was quite full and the death toll was likely to rise.

Sergeant Marian Cruz of the Surfside Police Department said: “We’re on the scene so it’s still very active.

“What I can tell you is the building is 12 floors. The entire back side of the building has collapsed.”

Police have cordoned off nearby roads, with scores of fire and rescue vehicles, ambulances and police cars deployed in the area.

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A witness who lives nearby, Victor Cohen, told local television station that the building had “collapsed like a pancake.”

NBC said the rescue teams included a unit that is trained in the removal of victims trapped in complex or confined spaces.

Authorities confirmed that at least one person has died after the building collapsed in Miami. Pic AP
Image:Authorities confirmed that at least one person has died after the building collapsed in Miami. Pic AP

Santo Mejil, 50, told the Miami Herald his wife called him from the building, where she was working as an aide for an elderly woman.

“She said she heard a big explosion. It felt like an earthquake,” Mr Mejil told the newspaper.

He said she later called him and said rescuers were bringing her down.

NBC Miami showed a video of a young boy being pulled alive from the rubble.

Footage from the scene shows the collapse affected half the tower and debris from the collapse coated cars two blocks away in a light layer of dust.

Emergency personnel work at the scene of a partial building collapse in Miami
Image:Emergency personnel work at the scene of a partial building collapse in Miami

According to NBC, the 12-story building, called Champlain Towers South, was built in 1981 and has more than 100 residential units.

It had a few two-bedroom units currently on the market, with asking prices of $600,000 to $700,000.

The area is a mix of new and old apartments, houses, condominiums and hotels, with restaurants and stores serving an international combination of residents and tourists.

Officials haven’t confirmed the number of people who were inside the building at the time of the collapse.

Some of these people were just rescued from the Surfside condo building that’s partially collapsed. pic.twitter.com/NHvgk2oeBr

— Joel Franco (@OfficialJoelF) June 24, 2021

Willie Gomez, who owns a condo in the building, said: “When I got here and one of the cameramen had some pictures from the backside, it looks like a whole just from top to bottom section of the building just collapsed.

“Something you see in an earthquake or something, but not something like this. It’s a little shocking.”

The building is located across from a beach in the oceanfront community of about 6,000 people and police blocked nearby roads and traffic was being diverted early on Thursday.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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