A 12-story beachfront condo tower in Miami just partially collapsed yesterday, trapping many people under the rubble and leading to the death of at least one person. The whole tower collapsed on one side around 1:30 am. The building was in the community of Surfside and came down in the evening with a roar. This is saddening because, given the time of the collapse, most people wouldn’t even have been awake when the building started to fall apart.
100 people living in the side of the condo are still unaccounted for and with cases like these, every passing second means that death tolls could be rising. Officials don’t know the exact number of people currently trapped under the rubble and rescue operations are still going on.
According to Surfside Mayor, Charles Burkett, “The building is literally pancaked. That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean to me that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive”. Authorities didn’t comment on what actually caused the collapse but that doesn’t matter when there are people that need saving. According to reports, just hours after the collapse, searchers were trying to reach a trapped child whose parents were believed to be dead.
A mother and her child were rescued but the woman’s leg had to be amputated to save her from under the rubble. This was reported by Frank Rollason, director of Miami-Dade Emergency Management. Gov. Ron DeSantis also toured the scene and his comment was that the television did not capture the scale of what had happened. Videos showed fire crews removing a boy from the wreckage.
Rescuers had pulled out around 35 people by mid-morning and heavy machinery was being brought in to help stabilize what was left of the building. Rescue teams of 10 to 12 were rotating in and out of the scene trying to save whoever they can by using search dogs and other equipment.
The former vice mayor of Surfside, Barry Cohen, was also sleeping in the building with his wife at the time of the collapse. They were woken up by the roar of the collapse. Cohen said that “I couldn’t walk out past my doorway. A gaping hole of rubble”. Surfside City Commissioner, Eliana Salzhauer, also commented on the situation saying that “I want to know why this happened. And can it happen again? Are any other of our buildings in town in jeopardy?”.
Nicholas Fernandez, who spent hours calling his two friends who were staying in the building with their young daughter, said that “The hope is that, perhaps, someone hears the call. I know there are dogs inside. I know it may sound ridiculous what I’m saying, but there’s always hope until we hear different”.
The cause of the collapse is unknown as of yet.