US state of Florida: At least four dead in Surfside house collapse – 159 people missing – Panorama – Society

Three days after the partial collapse of a residential building in Florida, the search for missing people continued on Saturday night. Four bodies were recovered during the salvage work by Friday, the whereabouts of 159 people were still unclear, the authorities said.

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Rescue crews continued to frantically search the rubble for possible survivors, though the odds were diminishing. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference, “Unfortunately, it was a tragic night.”

“We will continue through the night and God willing there will be good news in the morning,” Miami Dade County Clerk Daniella Levine Cava said Friday night. 120 people affected have now been located, but the whereabouts of 159 other people are still unclear. “We will continue the search and rescue operation because we still have hope of finding people alive,” Levine Cava said.

The twelve-story residential building Champlain Tower in the city of Surfside north of Miami Beach collapsed on Thursday night from an unknown cause. Some residents were able to get to safety via the stairs or were rescued from balconies. It is feared that many were surprised by the collapse while they were sleeping.

Rescue teams were deployed with tracking dogs, special cameras, listening devices and heavy equipment. From time to time, knocking noises can be heard from the meter-high mountains of rubble, US media reported. Several people were injured in the accident in the town of Surfside near Miami Beach. More than 37 people were saved, the fire department said.

“Nothing else matters. We’re not giving up,” said Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett. The rescuers are on duty around the clock. However, rain made the search difficult. The residential complex collapsed “like a pancake”. “This is heartbreaking because to me it means we will not be as successful in finding survivors as we would like.”

City Councilman Charles Kesl told CNN that he was hoping for more survivors: “Realistically, I’m not sure how many or if anyone will be recovered alive and found.” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Look at the search: “Every minute counts.”

The authorities emphasized that the missing persons do not necessarily have to have all been in the building. For a possible identification of victims, however, DNA samples were taken from relatives, local media reported.

99 people missing after partial collapse of high-rise building in Florida

Frustration spread among the relatives of the missing: “Not enough is being done,” said Mike Salberg, who flew from New York to Miami after the accident. Five family members, including his parents, are still missing, he told AFP news agency. “I want answers,” he added. “We’re told they have the best teams,” but he doesn’t believe it: “40 hours later, four dead.”

According to Florida Republican Senator Marco Rubio, many of the missing are from abroad, including Argentina, Uruguay and Paraguay. Canada said at least four of its citizens could also be “affected”.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency to free up additional funds and materials after the accident. This was confirmed by President Joe Biden on Friday so that federal funds can also be made available. The civil protection agency FEMA is also involved. Biden had already emphasized on Thursday that wherever the federal government could help, he would do so. “We’re here,” Biden said.

Experts suspect the collapse of a pillar to be the cause

About 55 of the 130 residential units in the building near the beach collapsed around 1:30 a.m. local time on Thursday night. The people were surprised by the accident while they were sleeping. The Miami Herald newspaper released video from a security camera showing first one and then another part of the L-shaped building collapsing. The images were reminiscent of the scenes in New York during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, the paper wrote.

Remains of the facilities can be seen in destroyed apartments.Photo: Chandan Khanna/AFP

The cause of the Surfside accident remains a mystery. The 1980s apartment complex known as Champlain Towers South was recently examined by experts as part of a routine inspection, Councilman Kesl said.

Professor Shimon Wdowinski of Florida International University (FIU) told local media that in a survey last year he found that the building, constructed in a wetland, had subsided several millimeters in the 1990s. That alone hardly triggered the collapse, but perhaps contributed to it. “If one part of the building moves relative to the other, it can cause some tension and cracking,” he said.

Mayor Cava explained that the building appeared to have collapsed due to structural problems. Structural engineers and firefighters would now work together to shore up the portion of the building that still stands.

Greg Batista, an engineer who worked on the house a few years ago, told CNN, “Spalling, if not repaired, can lead to a collapse.” For a building to collapse, even one pillar can be damaged be, so Batista. “All it takes is a pillar, and everything can collapse like a Jenga tower.”

Another engineer, Kit Miyamoto, summed up Batista’s remarks on CNN: “This collapse is a classic column failure. The building was built on several such pillars. And when one pillar collapses, everything collapses. That’s exactly what it looks like.”

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