Authorities have confirmed that at least one person is dead following the collapse of a 12-story residential building in Surfside, Florida. Another 99 are unaccounted for.
NPR reports that the collapse occurred on beachfront property just north of Miami Beach.
The collapse occurred around 1:30 a.m. Thursday with a large section of the building falling in on itself within about 15 seconds. Approximately 55 apartment units were destroyed by the collapse inside the Champlain Towers South Complex, a building that has stood for about 40 years.
53 residents are accounted for, but officials report difficulty locating the 99 believed to still be missing. Rescue workers have brought in dogs to assist in the search, but according to Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett “tragically, there haven’t been hits for the dogs.”
Investigators and engineers are trying to determine what caused the collapse, but it will likely take some time.
Burkett compared the collapse to something reminiscent of a war zone, saying “it looks like a bomb went off.”
The section that collapsed essentially pancaked on top of itself, making it difficult to identify voids or gaps in which survivors may be stuck.
A site for family reunification was set up about a half-mile from the building, and Burkett told NBC that 15 families had gathered at the city’s community center and would soon be relocated to hotels.
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