The death toll from the collapse of an apartment in the Miami area climbs to 4, with 159 missing
Officials said that 159 people remain unaccounted for after a partial collapse of a waterfront building in Florida.
The Mayor of Miami-Dade, Daniella Levine Cava, said on Friday that rescuers continued to search for survivors in the collapse of an apartment building in Surfside, a town in the Miami area.
Levine Cava said that three bodies were excavated from the ruins of Champlain Towers overnight, bringing the death toll to four. Officials worry that this number will soar. According to reports, 11 people were injured and 4 of them were receiving treatment in the hospital.
“This is a very difficult time, and as we move forward, things will become more difficult,” said Miami-Dade Police Chief Freddy Ramirez (Freddy Ramirez).
Ramirez said they are working with the forensic office to determine the identities of the four victims.
Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah of Miami-Dade County said 130 firefighters were working at the scene.
State Senator Jason Pizzo of Miami Beach told the Miami Herald that he saw a six-man tactical team working early Friday to screen debris. He said he saw one body in a yellow body bag and another with markings. They were taken to the murder team tents set up along the beach.
In the early hours of Friday morning, many people stayed at the unified center near the collapse site, waiting for the results of DNA swabs that could help identify the victims.
Officials said that the cause of the collapse has not yet been determined.
Huge dust cloud
The video of the collapse showed that the center of the building seemed to collapse first, and the part closest to the ocean was crumbling and collapsed a few seconds later because a huge cloud of dust engulfed the neighborhood.
About half of the approximately 130 units in the building were affected, and rescuers rescued at least 35 people from the wreckage in the first few hours after the collapse.
A TV video earlier on Friday showed that the staff were still fighting the fire on the rubble. Intermittent rains in South Florida also hindered searches.
Jadallah said that although the monitoring equipment placed on and in the wreckage did not hear any sound, they found possible impact sound, which made rescuers hope that some people were still alive. Rescuers are digging a tunnel from below to enter the wreckage, passing through the building’s underground parking lot.
In 1981, in the wreckage of Champlain built in Surfside, a small suburb north of Miami Beach, personal belongings are evidence of a broken life. A children’s bunk bed perched precariously on the top floor, curved but intact, apparently only a few inches from the gravel. A quilt is placed on the edge of the lower floor.
The missing include the Argentinean Dr. Andres Galfrascoli, his husband Fabian Núñez and their 6-year-old daughter Sofia, who were in the Champlain Tower of friend Nicolas Fernández on Wednesday night. Spent in an apartment.
Watch | Dozens of people are missing after the collapse of an apartment near Miami:
Buenos Aires plastic surgeon Galfrascoli and theater producer and accountant Nunez came to Florida to escape the resurgence of COVID-19 in Argentina and its strict lockdown Measures. Fernandez said they worked hard to adopt Sophia.
“In all the days, they chose the worst to stay there,” Fernandez said. “I hope that’s not the case, but if they die like this, it would be unfair.”
The missing relatives of the President of Paraguay
They are not the only South Americans missing. The foreign ministries and consulates of four countries stated that 22 nationals were missing in the collapse: 9 from Argentina, 6 from Paraguay, 4 from Venezuela, and 3 from Uruguay.
Paraguayans include Sophia Lopez Moreira, the sister of the first lady Silvana Abdu and the sister-in-law of President Mario Abdul Benitez, and Her family members.
According to Israeli media, the country’s consul general in Miami, Maor Elbaz, believes that 20 of the country’s citizens are missing.
Also missing are the retired elementary school physical education teacher Arnie Notkin and his wife Myriam in the Miami area. They live on the third floor.
“Everyone is posting,’Oh my God, he’s my coach,’ said a friend Fortuna Smukler, who turned to Facebook, hoping to find someone who could report their safety.
“They are also such happy, happy people. He always has stories to tell, and she always talks about my mother so kindly,” Smuckler said. “There were rumors that he was found, but his identity was wrong. If he could be found, it would be a miracle.”