At least four killed and 159 unaccounted for after Miami building collapse

A total of 159 people are now unaccounted for – and at least four people have been killed – following the collapse of an apartment building in Florida.

Three more bodies were pulled from the rubble during what Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine Cava described as a “tragic night”.

“The search and rescue team worked throughout the night and it was a very active scene from above and from below,” she said.

Rescuers worked through the night searching for survivors
Image:Rescuers worked through the night and said sounds could be heard from the debris

Ms Levine Cava said “we still have hope that we will find people alive”, as rescue workers said sounds had been heard through the night at Champlain Towers South in the town of Surfside.

A huge section of the 12-storey oceanfront building was reduced to rubble when it crashed to the ground around 1.30am on Thursday local time (6.30am UK time).

Officials do not know how many were inside the residential complex when it collapsed – the cause of which is still unknown and being investigated.

Among those believed to be missing in the disaster is a British mother and her child – and relatives of Paraguay’s first lady.

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A relative of Bhavna Patel, a 38-year-old British and US citizen, confirmed to Sky News that she, her 42-year-old husband Vishal Patel and their one-year-old daughter Aishani Patel are yet to be found.

Bhavna Patel, a 38-year-old British and US citizen, and her 42-year-old husband Vishal Patel, and their one-year-old daughter Aishani Patel are yet to be found.
Image:Bhavna Patel and her family are among the missing

Paraguayan Foreign Minister Euclides Acevedo told local media that six people from the South American country are still unaccounted for after the collapse.

They are Sophia López Moreira, the sister of first lady Silvana Abdo, her husband Luis Pettengill, her three children and the family’s assistant, according to Paraguayan authorities.

Florida Senator Marco Rubio tweeted that almost a third of the missing are foreign nationals.

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Moment apartment block collapses in Miami Beach

Earlier, President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration in the state of Florida and ordered federal assistance to boost local disaster response efforts.

Search teams detected sounds of banging and other noises but no voices coming from the mounds of debris hours after a large section of the apartment block crumbled to the ground.

At least 35 people have been pulled from the rubble, including a mother and child.

Built in 1981, the tower block comprised of more than 130 flats, about 80 of which were occupied.

Video footage captured from nearby appeared to show the centre of the building collapsing first, with a section nearest the ocean teetering and coming down seconds later as a huge dust cloud swallowed the neighbourhood.

Mark Gibson

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

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