Miami apartment block demolished as 121 remain missing after collapse

5 July 2021, 09:58

By Joe Cook

This was the moment that the remaining portion of a collapsed Miami apartment building was demolished with explosives, as rescuers attempt to reach the basement where survivors could be holed up.

Rescuers have so far recovered the remains of 24 people, with 121 still missing after the Surfside building partially collapsed on 24 June.

Demolition crews set off multiple explosions on Sunday evening to bring down the remainder of the Chaplain Towers South building after parts of it shifted on Thursday, raising concerns it could fall and endanger rescuers.

Tropical Storm Elsa is also set to hit Florida soon, raising concerns that it could destabilise the building further.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Levine Cava told The Associated Press the demolition went “exactly as planned. It was picture perfect. Exactly what we were told would happen.”

Read more: Moment boy is pulled alive from rubble after Miami building collapse

There were concerns that the remainder of the building was posing a risk to rescuers.
There were concerns that the remainder of the building was posing a risk to rescuers. Picture: PA

Crews working at the site are hoping to get access to an underground garage where voids may exist in the rubble that could possibly hold survivors.

However, no one has been rescued alive since the first hours of the collapse 11 days ago, with hopes fading for the families of those living in the 12-storey apartment block.

Despite this, rescuers were told they could resume their search just 15 to 60 minutes after the demolition was complete.

Read more: Firefighter finds body of his own daughter, 7, in Miami building collapse

"We are standing by. We are ready to go in, no matter the time of night," Mayor Cava told a news conference earlier on Sunday evening.

She added that "as an animal lover and a pet owner" she had gone to great lengths to ensure no animals were in the building at the time of the demolition, including using thermal imagine drones.