99 missing and many feared dead after 12-storey Miami building collapse

24 June 2021, 17:07 | Updated: 25 June 2021, 08:11

One death has been confirmed, following the collapse of the apartments.
One death has been confirmed, following the collapse of the apartments. Picture: PA

By Emma Soteriou

At least 99 people are missing, one has died and 35 have been pulled from the rubble of a collapsed building in Miami.

Rescuers are continuing to look for more trapped in the building, Raide Jadallah, assistant fire chief of operations for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said.

At the scene, 10 people were treated and two were taken to hospital, however, one died.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett warned during a news conference that the building manager told him the tower was quite full and the death toll was likely to rise.

Mr Burkett said: "The building is literally pancaked. That is heart-breaking because it doesn't mean to me that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive."

At least 99 people were unaccounted for as of Thursday evening, according to Miami-Dade Police spokesperson Alvaro Zabaleta.

A total of 15 families were able to make their way out of the building themselves.

The collapse affect one leg of the L-shaped tower, with a number of apartments in the building left exposed.

Out of 136 units in the building 55 collapsed, Raide Jadallah, assistant chief of operations for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said.

Television footage showed bunk beds, tables and chairs still left inside the damaged apartments.

Meanwhile, piles of rubble and debris surrounded the area just outside the building, and cars up to two blocks away were coated with a light layer of dust from the debris.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue tweeted that more than 80 crews were "on scene with assistance from municipal fire departments".

Former deputy mayor of Surfside, Barry Cohen, was in the building asleep with his wife when it collapsed.

They opened the door to the building's hallway to find "a pile of rubble and dust and smoke billowing around."

"I couldn't walk out past my doorway," he said. "A gaping hole of rubble."

It is currently unknown what caused the building to collapse. There was work being carried out on the roof, but the Mayor did not know how that could lead to the damage done.

Authorities have not said what the cause may be.