Pregnant British woman among 159 missing after Miami building collapse

25 June 2021, 14:52 | Updated: 25 June 2021, 15:06

Part of the building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed overnight
Part of the building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed overnight. Picture: PA

By Daisy Stephens

Four people have been confirmed dead and 159 are still unaccounted for, according to the mayor of Miami-Dade.

Speaking at a press conference, Daniella Levine Cava confirmed that the death count from the “tragic night” had risen to four and 159 people were still missing.

“We do have 120 people now accounted for, which is very, very good news,” said Ms Cava.

“But our ‘unaccounted for’ number has gone up to 159.

“In addition we can tragically report the death count is now four.”

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Among those missing is 38-year-old British and US citizen Bhavna Patel, along with her husband, 42-year-old Vishal Patel, and their one-year-old daughter Aishani.

Bhavna is reportedly pregnant, with a relative putting out a tweet calling for help locating her family.

A spokesperson from the UK's Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) said:

“We are supporting the family of a British woman following the residential building collapse in Miami and our Consulate in Miami is in contact with the local authorities conducting the search and rescue operation.

“We continue to urge anyone concerned about friends or family in the area to call the Miami-Dade county hotline on +1 305-614-1819 or visit www.miamidade.gov/emergency.

MP and minister at the FCDO Wendy Morton also tweeted information about families waiting to hear from relatives following the disaster.

The tragic figure of the dead and missing is expected to change, with the mayor describing the numbers as “fluid” and promising further updates.

She also said that they were “actively” providing affected families with resources such as food, shelter and grief counselling.

Also among those missing is the sister of Paraguay’s first lady, Sophia López Moreira.

In a statement, Paraguay’s foreign ministry confirmed Ms Moreira was one of six missing Paraguayan nationals, a figure which also includes three minors.

Over 100 people have now been safely accounted for, including a young boy who was pulled from the wreckage.

Governor Ron DeSantis said rescue crews were “doing everything they can to save lives… they’re not going to rest”.

The building collapsed at around 1:30am.

The collapse affected 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.

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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.

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

It is not currently known what caused the building to collapse.