Miami building collapse: Search continues as death toll rises to nine

27 June 2021, 17:17 | Updated: 27 June 2021, 17:25

The search for survivors at the partially-collapsed Champlain Towers South in Miami is ongoing
The search for survivors at the partially-collapsed Champlain Towers South in Miami is ongoing. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

Nine people are now confirmed to have died following the collapse of an apartment block in Surfside, Florida.

Speaking at a press conference, the mayor of Miami Dade Daniella Levine Cava confirmed that an additional four bodies had been found in the rubble whilst one other person had died in hospital.

“We were able to recover four additional bodies as well as additional human remains,” said Ms Cava.

“As of today, one victim passed away in the hospital and we have recovered eight more victims on site so I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine.”

Read more: New Health Secretary Sajid Javid's top priority: return to normal 'as quickly as possible'

Read more: French police hunt Tour de France spectator who caused major crash with sign

She said that four of the victims have so far been identified and their next of kin informed.

The mayor offered her “deepest condolences to the friends, the families, the communities of those who lost their lives”.

She said “every effort” was being made to identify the other victims and confirmed she was “constantly” in touch with family members.

Ms Cava confirmed that the search operation was still ongoing, with over 100 people still unaccounted for.

The mayor also said that the fire, which yesterday was hampering rescue efforts, had been brought under control.

She said that there were between six and eight squads still searching the rubble, using a number of methods such as dogs, cameras and sonar technology.

“We are getting it done,” she said.

Prayer vigils are being held for those still missing and their families
Prayer vigils are being held for those still missing and their families. Picture: PA

While officials said no cause for the collapse early on Thursday has been determined, Florida governor Ron DeSantis said a "definitive answer" is needed in a timely manner.

Video showed the centre of the building appearing to tumble down first, followed by a section nearer to the beach.

The missing included people from around the world.

Israeli media said the country's consul general in Miami believed 20 of its citizens are missing.

Another 22 people were unaccounted for from Argentina, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay, including relatives of Paraguayan first lady Silvana de Abdo Benitez.

A pregnant British woman is also believed to be among those missing.