99 people are still unaccounted for after a residential condo in Surfside–a town located on the Miami Beach strip–partially collapsed around 1:24 A.M. this morning. Half of the 12-story building facing the ocean caved in on itself, leaving a massive pile of rubble and debris, and a yet unknown number of victims.
At least one person has been reported dead but 99 residents are still unaccounted for. Many of the missing are presumed to be dead. Rescuers are searching the scene for any sign of the building’s inhabitants, and hear some sounds that may indicate life, such as pounding and banging from within the building’s wreckage.
But rescue teams are also facing a huge amount of difficulty due to the nature of the collapse. The scene seems to be severely flattened, leaving very little pockets of space for survivors to shelter in. This also indicates that the physical threat posed by the collapse is substantial even if one were to survive as the building fell, which is why officials presently believe that most unaccounted for people have likely succumbed to the effects of the collapse.
Miami building collapse left town of Surfside nearly unrecognizable
The scene of the collapse evoked images of war-torn and deserted cities, as the Champlain Towers South building that experienced that tragic accident appeared as though it had been struck by a missile or was undergoing demolition. Nearly half of the 136 units in the building were destroyed in the collapse. Surfside’s mayor Charles W. Burkett told the press that search dogs had been introduced to the rescue team in order to better detect survivors, but that “Just tragically, there haven’t been any hits from the dogs, and that’s a great disappointment,”
“Apparently, when the building came down, it pancaked. So there’s just not a lot of voids that they’re finding or seeing from the outside.” he added.
The town of Surfside is just north of the city of Miami Beach, which is the vibrant community surrounding Miami’s coastline. Miami Beach is 10 minutes away from Downtown Miami via causeway, and is often considered a part of Miami proper despite being its own city. Surfside is sandwiched in between Miami Beach and Bal Harbour, an affluent village with high rise condos and shopping centers.
Miami is famous for its Hispanic population and culture. it is commonly perceived as a Latin American city within the United States, although there is also a Greek community. Many people immigrate to Miami from Cuba as well as other South American countries. Surfside also has a large Jewish population, and both communities are said to be deeply affected by the tragedy, with both Jewish and Hispanic people amongst the unaccounted for.