Building collapse death toll in U.S. Florida rises to 5, more than 150 possibly missing

0
People view a makeshift memorial near the site of the residential building collapse in Miami-Dade County, Florida, the United States, on June 26, 2021. The death toll from the partial collapse of a 12-story residential building has risen to five while the number of missing people rose to at least 159, local media reported on Saturday. (Photo by Monica McGivern/Xinhua)

The death toll from the partial collapse of a 12-story residential building in the U.S. beachside town of Surfside, southeastern state Florida, has risen to five while the number of missing people rose to at least 159, local media reported on Saturday.

“Today our search and rescue teams found another body in the rubble,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a news conference Saturday evening.

“Our search has revealed some human remains,” said the mayor, adding that there are now 130 people accounted for and 156 unaccounted for.

“Our top priority continues to be search and rescue and saving any lives that we can,” she added. Fire and smoke deep within the mountain of rubble hampered search efforts through Saturday.

A CNN report said nearly three years before the collapse, a structural field survey found that there was “major structural damage” to the concrete slab below the pool deck and “cracking and spalling” in the parking garage.

“The waterproofing below the pool deck and Entrance Drive as well as all of the planter waterproofing is beyond its useful life and therefore must all be completely removed and replaced,” the October 2018 report read.

“The failed waterproofing is causing major structural damage to the concrete structural slab below these areas. Failure to replace the waterproofing in the near future will cause the extent of the concrete deterioration to expand exponentially,” it warned.

The survey also noted that “many of the previous garage concrete repairs” were “failing.” The Champlain Towers South condominium, built in 1981, partially collapsed around 1:30 a.m. local time (about 0530 GMT) on Thursday in Surfside, around 9.6 km north of Miami Beach. About 70 of the condo’s 130 apartments were destroyed or damaged, according to Frank Rollason, director of Miami-Dade Emergency Management.

All the numbers are “fluid” because some residents may not be in the building when it collapsed, the mayor said on Friday, noting that rescuers will “continue searching because we still have hope that we will find people alive.”

U.S. President Joe Biden has declared a state of emergency authorizing funding and other disaster relief to Surfside. The Federal Emergency Management Agency was sending support.

At least 27 people from Latin American countries, including Colombia, Cuba, Chile, Paraguay, Puerto Rico and Argentina, are among those reported missing by friends and family following the collapse, local newspaper Miami Herald reported Friday.

Florida state fire marshal Jimmy Patronis said on CNN on Friday morning that search and rescue teams were using everything at their disposal in the search of life, cutting into the concrete with saws and using infrared cameras after boring through holes in the rubble, along with sonar and specially trained dogs.

“The live active rescue will continue,” Patronis said without going into how long he thinks a person can survive under the debris.The first lawsuit, seeking 5 million U.S. dollars in damages for the victims of the condo collapse, was filed late on Thursday.

Send your news stories to newsghana101@gmail.com and via WhatsApp on +233 244244807 Follow News Ghana on Google News

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here