Mayor: 102 accounted for, 99 missing in wake of Florida building collapse
Miami, Jun 24 (EFE).- The mayor of Miami-Dade County said Thursday that 102 people are safe and accounted for after the partial collapse of a residential high-rise just north of Miami Beach, while 99 remain missing.
Daniella Levine Cava also said she has signed an emergency order and that another emergency order also is on the desk of Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“With that, we will get the support from the federal agency FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency). The president (Joe Biden) has pledged that support and so shortly these orders will go forward and we will be able to bring … FEMA federal assistance to this site and to the families who are suffering,” the mayor said.
Earlier Thursday, officials had put the numbers of people missing and accounted for at 51 and 53, respectively.
One person has been confirmed dead thus far after 55 of Champlain Towers South Condo’s 136 units collapsed at around 1.30 am due to causes that have yet to be determined.
The Argentine Foreign Ministry confirmed from Buenos Aires that 10 Argentine nationals are missing in the wake of the collapse of that 12-story building in the South Florida beach-front community of Surfside.
Paraguay’s Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, said six of its citizens are unaccounted for, including Sophia Lopez-Moreira (sister of the country’s first lady, Silvana Lopez-Moreira), her husband and their three children.
Colombia’s Foreign Ministry, for its part, said Thursday that at least six Colombians were living in the partially collapsed high-rise and that an effort is under way to verify if those individuals were inside the building when it came crashing down.
The director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, Freddy Ramirez, urged relatives and friends of the missing to be patient, saying the work of combing through the rubble for survivors and victims is slow and dangerous.
A spokesman for the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department, which is leading the search effort, said for his part that between 60 and 70 rescue personnel have been on-site throughout the day and will continue to work into the night with the help of specially trained dogs.
Besides the one confirmed fatality, whose body was removed from the rubble early Thursday, 10 people have received medical treatment on site, two have been taken to area hospitals and 35 have been rescued from the building’s balconies, according to different official sources.
The cause of the collapse remains to be determined.
DeSantis said engineers will be evaluating what happened but that no immediate answers should be expected.