Florida [US], June 25 (ANI): A large oceanfront condo building near Miami Beach partially collapsed on Thursday, killing at least one person, injuring another 10 or more and prompting a massive search-and-rescue response as 99 people remain unaccounted for.
Dozens of units from police and fire agencies rushed to Champlain Towers South here at 1:30 a.m. after the northeast corridor of the building collapsed, reported Washington Post citing Assistant Fire Chief Ray Jadallah.
Rescuers evacuated 35 people from the 12-story building, including two recovered from the rubble.
"We went running out, and we saw all the debris, and the building was just gone," said Alexis Watson, 21, who is vacationing from Texas at a nearby hotel. "We heard a couple of people yelling, 'Help, help, please!'"
Miami-Dade police told The Washington Post that 99 people remained unaccounted for as of Thursday afternoon. "They are unaccounted for because they have not been heard from or have not called family or friends to say they are okay," said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman.
The partial collapse came one day after the building had passed inspection, Surfside Vice Mayor Tina Paul said. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said engineers were examining what caused the collapse but an exact cause could take some time to determine.
Footage of the collapse captured by nearby security cameras shows a wing of the building suddenly collapsing and a cloud of dust filling the air. One witness described seeing people trapped inside using their phone flashlights to signal for help.
The White House is monitoring the situation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency and coordinating any possible assistance with local officials, a Biden administration official said.
A 2020 study conducted by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the department of earth and environment at Florida International University, found that the building had been sinking since the 1990s, according to US media.
Local leaders have urged the public to support the victims and their loved ones.
"This is a very sad moment in our community... It is important that all prayers go out to all family members and those suffering right now," said Jose "Pepe" Diaz, chairman of the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners, said in a news conference. (ANI)