Miami, Jun 25 (EFE).- The mayor of Miami-Dade County said Friday that the number of missing people after the partial collapse of a residential high-rise just north of Miami Beach had risen from 99 to 159 and that three more bodies were pulled from the rubble overnight.
Four people have been confirmed dead thus far after 55 of Champlain Towers South Condo’s 136 units collapsed at around 1.30 am Thursday morning due to causes that have yet to be determined.
“Unfortunately this has been a tragic night. We do have 120 people now accounted for which is very, very good news but our unaccounted for number has gone up to 159,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told a press conference in the beachtown of Surfside, where the tragedy occured.
“In addition, we can tragically confirm the death count is now four.”
Rescuers worked throughout the night and brought heavy machinery into the operation.
President Joe Biden has authorized support from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the mayor added.
A spokesman for the Miami-Dade Fire Department said rescuers had heard sounds below the rubble but could not attribute them to human movement and nor could they hear voices.
A reunification center not far from Champlain Towers is collecting DNA samples from family members of missing people to speed up the identification process when bodies are found, NBC 6 reported.
Rescuers have opened up a tunnel into the rubble via the building’s garage and are using sniffer dogs and sonar equipment to detect signs of life.
The 12-story building was built in 1981 and had recently passed its 40-year inspection.