159 people unaccounted for in Florida building collapse, 4 bodies pulled out
The search and rescue teams worked through the night to clear the debris, hoping to find survivors. Heavy machinery has been brought to the site.
Rescuers in Miami-Dade County in Florida, United States are yet to account for 159 people who were in the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building, a part of which collapsed on Thursday.
Mayor Daniella Levine Cava informed that so far bodies of fours victims was been removed from the rubble. The search and rescue teams worked through the night to clear the debris, hoping to find survivors. Heavy machinery has been brought to the site.
Media reports said that most residents would have been asleep when the collapse happened at about 01:00 (10:30 am Friday IST).
Miami Dade Fire Rescue Chief of Operations Ray Jadallah said, "Rescue operations were augmented. We are pulling additional resorces from FEMA. 130 firefighters are at the scene. During search and rescue, we encountered three of the deceased. Operations continue. Tunneling is on using light machinery."
About 55 apartment units of the multistory building partially collapsed. The cause of the collapse wasn't immediately known.
"We are listening for sounds -- tapping, steel twisting -- from below. Heavy machinery is lifting debris from the top. We have hope. We are utilising personnel to concentrate on areas from where we hear sounds."
President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Florida. This empowers the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help state agencies with the relief effort.
Experts said that the manner in which the building collapse indicated a column failure. However, Kenneth Direktor, an attorney for the association of residents at the condo, said the building had undergone thorough engineering inspections over the last several months.
Media reports said that the building came up in 1980 and was awaiting its standard 40-year review.
According to media reports, six Paraguayans, including the sister of Paraguayan First Lady Silvana López Moreira, the brother-in-law and their three children are still unaccounted for.