Miami building collapse death toll rises to 4; at least 159 people still missing

Miami high rise collapse: Around-the-clock rescue effort continues as federal team preps for probe

Miami first responders and assisting agencies were still conducting a search and rescue operation at the site of a collapsed high-rise apartment building in Surfside, Fla., Friday night as a federal team of experts prepared to deploy from Maryland to inspect the site.

A federal probe into the cause will likely be conducted by investigators from the National Institute of Standards and Technology, according to Glenn Corbett, a former member of the Federal Advisory Committee of the National Construction Safety Team and a fire protection engineer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York. Read more.

Florida families and friends desperate for answers as rescue operation continues in condo collapse

Search and rescue teams are currently battling weather and small fires as they comb through the massive pile of rubble that resulted from a 12-story beachfront condo’s collapse early Thursday morning, leaving at least 159 people still unaccounted for as of Friday evening. 

Families of those who are unaccounted for are not giving up hope — but they want answers. Read more.

Miami condo collapse: Residents complained of construction noise, reports say

Residents of the Florida condo complex that collapsed Thursday had previously complained of construction noise that may have resulted from heavy work done to try and ensure the building was ready for its 40-year inspection, according to reports.

The Champlain Towers South condo complex was built in 1981 and faced a mandatory inspection this year. Read more.

Fire beneath rubble ‘not accessible’

Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said smoke seen coming up from the rubble is hindering rescue efforts as a fire burns below the pile.

“I’m not able to distinguish what the temperature is…it’s just that it’s so deeply seated that we can’t get the water there,” he said.

Structural engineers on site to assess integrity of remaining building

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said structural engineers had arrived at the site to evaluate amid concerns that the portion of the Champlain Towers South building that is still standing could be unsafe.

Cranes and other equipment expected to arrive soon

Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said rescuers were focusing underneath the rubble for signs of survivors with K-9 and sonar teams and were investigating potential access points from on top of the pile.

Experts have told Fox News that such search efforts indicate officials still have hope of recovering survivors. If crews brought in heavy machinery to begin clearing rubble, that would put potential survivors at risk — however Cominsky said such equipment was expected to arrive at the scene soon.

Rescuers are looking for so-called void spaces, areas where collapsed segments of building materials could have saved people from being crushed during the fall. To access those areas with cranes requires slow, meticulous work in order to minimize risk to potential survivors.

The county police director, Alfredo Ramirez, said residents should expect traffic disruptions as rescuers continue to work in the area around the collapse site.

Miami-Dade mayor: Search and rescue effort is still active

“We are still working,” Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said during a news briefing that kicked off just after 8 p.m. ET Friday. “We are working around the clock, and we still have hope.”

She said officials were giving the families of unaccounted for persons twice daily briefings to keep them posted on the progress of the effort.

However the numbers of dead, recovered and unaccounted for had not changed from the morning, she said. No one had been found in hours.

Heartwarming video shows child handing out candy to Surfside firefighters

Lauren Patrana, a reporter for CBS Miami, tweeted video of her young son’s friend handing out candy and soda’s to first responders near the Surfside condo collapse site.

The video shows firefighters in heavy gear and carrying mauls thanking the young boy and his mother, who live nearby, for the gesture.

“A small, simple act that really warmed my heart this morning,” she wrote.

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava shares video of rescue effort

Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava tweeted out a video of rescue workers searching for survivors at the Champlain Towers South site Friday evening.

“Let me be clear: The men and women of our @MiamiDadeFire team are the best in the world,” she tweeted. “They are working around the clock and using every strategy available to find and save as many loved ones as possible. Please keep them in your prayers.”

President Biden offers federal support for Miami-Dade state of emergency

The White House released a readout of a call between President Biden and Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Friday afternoon.

The president pledged to provide federal resources to survivors and state and local rescue teams. Biden had already approved an emergency declaration at the request of DeSantis following a deadly collapse of a 12-story condo complex just outside of Miami.

The tragedy led to at least four deaths and dozens of people remain unaccounted for.

Surfside condo collapse: How long can you survive under rubble?

Search-and-rescue operations continue in Surfside, Fla., following the collapse of the Champlain Tower South condo complex Thursday morning. 

At least 159 people remain unaccounted for, with at least four people dead as a result of the collapse. Crews continue to search for any survivors who may be trapped beneath the wreckage, using an array of techniques and technology to find any hint of a person still alive.

The crews, which include about 130 firefighters, have reported hearing tapping and other noises, but it is not clear if the noises are human-made or simply the sounds of the rubble shifting. 

Read more here.

Federal government sending scientists, engineers to site to determine if investigation is needed

A spokesperson for the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) told Fox News they will be sending a crew of six engineers and scientists “to collect firsthand information on the Champlain Towers South collapse that will be used to determine if an investigation or study of the building collapse will be conducted.”

NIST spokesperson Jennifer Huergo said in an email that the team’s work would not interfere with the search and rescue mission and they will not enter the property once it has been deemed safe.

“The NIST experts will work with federal, state and local authorities to identify and preserve materials that might be helpful in understanding why the collapse occurred,” she wrote. “If a full investigation or study is conducted, its ultimate goal would be to determine the technical cause of the collapse and, if indicated, to recommend changes to building codes, standards and practices, or other appropriate actions to improve the structural safety of buildings.”

First deceased victim identified as 54-year-old mom, report says

The Miami-Dade Medical Examiner’s Office identified its first victim of Thursday morning’s tragedy as 54-year-old Stacie Fang, local news station WSVN-TV reported. Fang was reportedly taken to an area hospital after being recovered early Thursday, and died of blunt force injures.

A spokesperson for the medical examiner’s office did not immediately respond to Fox News’ request seeking confirmation.

According to WSVN, Fang had been staying on the tenth floor of the building. Her son was also rescued after the collapse, according to the report.

“There are no words to describe the tragic loss of our beloved Stacie,” reads part of a family statement obtained by the news station,

Bethenny Frankel organizing donations after Miami building collapses

Bethenny Frankel, through her disaster relief charity, BStrong, is quickly organizing and helping the residents who are displaced after Champlain Towers collapsed in Surfside, Fla. 

The former “Real Housewives” star, 50, has partnered with Global Empowerment Mission, a nonprofit, to help victims. 

“Today, in partnership with @globalempowermentmission, BStrong is distributing $500-$1000 each in cash cards directly to displaced residents in need from the tragic collapse of Champlain Towers in Surfside, Florida. We’re also supplying the Shul of Bal Harbour and other local community centers our BStrong Family Necessities Kits for the entire community affected,” Frankel wrote on social media.

To read more, click here.

Search and rescue crews battle rain, potential for storms and lightning amid recovery efforts

Heavy cranes are removing debris from the pile using large claws, creating a sound of crashing glass and metal as they pick up a haul and dump it to the side. At the same time, firefighters are tunneling from below, using saws and jackhammers, to search for pockets in the rubble, Miami Dade Fire Chief Ray Jadallah said.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said the removal of the debris should make it safer for rescuers to tunnel into pockets where survivors might be trapped.

“Right now we are picking up dangerous pieces that look like they could fall on our search and rescue guys,” he said.

Periodic downpours, as well as strong winds, were adding to the challenges. A fire somewhere deep within the rubble was also a concern. “We’re working around that, it’s not stopping us,” the mayor said.

The Associated Press contributed.

University of Chicago student, girlfriend among those missing

Local affiliate FOX 32 Chicago reported
that 21-year-old Ilan Naibryf, a University of Chicago student, and his girlfriend, Deborah Berezdivin, were believed to have been in the building that collapsed early Thursday morning.

The University of Chicago’s Dean of Students, Michele Rasmussen, confirmed the news in a statement provided to FOX 32, writing: “The University of Chicago has confirmed that Ilan Naibryf, a rising fourth-year physics and molecular engineering student in the College, is among the individuals missing following the collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium building in Surfside, Florida on Thursday, June 24.”

Rescuers heard sonar-detected sounds ‘throughout the night’

“We are listening for sounds,” Miami-Dade Fire Chief Jadallah said.

When asked about tapping sounds reported to have been picked up by the sonar technology, Jadallah said that it’s “not necessarily tapping, it’s just sounds … it could be various things. It could be just steel twisting, it could be debris raining down. But not specifically sounds of tapping or sounds of human voice.”

“Every time that we hear a sound, we concentrate in that area. So, we send additional teams, utilizing the devices, utilizing K9, utilizing personnel. As we continue to hear those sounds we concentrate in those areas.”

He said they heard such sounds “throughout the night.”

Work is being done ‘at extreme risk’ to rescuers one the scene, mayor says

“This work is being done at extreme risk to these individuals. Debris is falling on them as they do their work,” Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said. “They are proceeding because they are so motivated and they are taking extraordinary risk on the scene every day.”

She also said rescuers “have to be pulled off the shift — that is how motivated they are to continue their efforts.”

Speaking to search and rescue efforts, mayor says they ‘still have hope’

When asked if she believes people are still alive underneath the debris, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said: “We will continue search and rescue because we still have hope that we will find people alive.”

She said rescuers are using sonar technology, K9s, cameras, “everything possible.”

FEMA arriving on the scene

FEMA personnel have already begun arriving at the scene, with the first person arriving about 3 a.m. local time. More FEMA personnel are expected to roll in throughout the day.

130 firefighters conducting search and rescue efforts; county provided with FEMA support

Miami-Dade Fire Chief Ray Jadallah tells reporters 130 firefighters are conducting search and rescue efforts, which have been further bolstered by FEMA support.

Number of people unaccounted for in Surfside collapse rises to 159

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava confirmed there are now 159 people unaccounted for after Thursday’s Surfside building collapse. Meanwhile, 120 people have been accounted for.

The death toll has risen to 4 after three bodies were pulled from the rubble overnight, she said.

The search and rescue efforts continue.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava to provide update in ongoing effort

In a Friday morning tweet, Mayor Daniella Levine Cava wrote: “I’m back on the scene of the Surfside building collapse getting a full morning briefing — I will update the media and public shortly.”

A press conference is expected to begin momentarily.

Collapsed Champlain Towers drew global visitors, residents

The Champlain Towers South drew people from around the globe to enjoy life on South Florida’s Atlantic Coast, some for a night, some to live. A couple from Argentina and their young daughter. A beloved retired Miami-area teacher and his wife. Orthodox Jews from Russia. Israelis. The sister of Paraguay’s first lady. Others from South America.

They were among the nearly 100 people who remained missing Friday morning, a day after the 12-story building collapsed into rubble early Thursday. Much of the Champlain’s beach side sheared off for unknown reasons, pancaking into a pile of concrete and metal more than 30 feet (10 meters) high.

To read more, click here.

Death toll rises to 4, mayor says

Three bodies were pulled from the Surfside building rubble overnight, bringing the total death toll to four, Miami Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava tells Good Morning America. The death toll is expected to change as vigorous rescue efforts continue.

Miami-area Champlain Towers South condo collapse prompts raises safety concerns over seaside constru

The abrupt, deadly collapse of part of the Champlain Towers South apartment building in Surfside, Fla., is prompting new calls for enhanced oceanfront construction safety protocols and inspections.

“Buildings like this do not fall in America,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told Fox News’ Tucker Carlson Thursday night. “This is a third-world phenomenon, and it’s shocking.”

He said the “disturbing” collapse was reminiscent of the fall of the Twin Towers in New York City following the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks, as far as the way the structure crumbled in moments.

To read more, click here.

Many missing after building collapse are from Latin American countries

An estimated 27 people reported missing following the Thursday morning building collapse are from Latin American countries, including at least nine from Argentina, six from Paraguay, four from Venezuela and three from Uruguay. according to the Miami Herald and The Associated Press.

Among those people were Argentines Dr. Andres Galfrascoli, his husband, Fabian Nuñez and their 6-year-old daughter, Sofia, who had spent Wednesday night there at an apartment belonging to a friend, Nicolas Fernandez.

Galfrascoli, a Buenos Aires plastic surgeon, and Nuñez, a theater producer and accountant, had come to Florida to get away from a COVID-19 resurgence in Argentina and its strict lockdowns. They had worked hard to adopt Sofia, Fernandez said.

The Paraguayans included Sophia López Moreira — the sister of first lady Silvana Abdo and sister-in-law of President Mario Abdo Benítez — and her family.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Rescue efforts at the Champlain Towers South continue into second day

As daylight breaks in Surfside, Florida, the exhaustive search for the 99 people believed to be missing continues, with one person being confirmed dead so far. Eleven others were injured and four were taken to local hospitals for treatment, authorities have said.

Rescue crews appeared to remove a body from the rubble in a yellow body bag late Thursday — as they worked through the night to find survivors.

VP Harris appears to reminds Biden about Florida condo collapse before he left White House event

Vice President Kamala Harris appeared to remind President Biden to mention the deadly South Florida condo collapse before leaving a White House event Thursday.

Biden had given remarks on infrastructure and taken questions from the press on that issue as well as voting rights. He then attempted to wrap up by telling reporters “I’ve got to get to a helicopter” before Harris approached.

The president and vice president exchanged a brief, whispered conversation that concluded with Harris saying, “Florida, yeah.”

“Oh, yes. I apologize,” Biden said, turning back to the microphone as Harris retreated out of camera view. “Yes, thank you, Madame Vice President.” Read more.

Surfside building collapse: Rescuers put own lives at risk to find survivors

A massive rescue effort is underway Friday morning in Surfside, Florida, in response to the partial building collapse that killed at least one and resulted in nearly 100 people being unaccounted for.

“The building is literally pancaked,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said in an interview. “It has gone down, and I mean there’s just feet in between stories where there was 10 feet. That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean to me that we’re gonna be as successful as we would want to be to find people alive.”

Jimmy Patronis, the state’s fire marshal, told reporters that rescue crews will not stop “just because of nightfall. They just may have a different path they pursue.” Read more.

Biden approves federal emergency declaration after Surfside building collapse

President Biden on Friday ordered federal assistance to support the massive response in South Florida after a 12-story building partially collapsed, killing at least one person and trapping others.

“The President’s action authorizes the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), to coordinate all disaster relief efforts,” the White House said.

FEMA said in a statement that the assistance is intended to alleviate some of the strain on local and state emergency crews that are working around the clock to rescue those trapped. Read more.

FDNY veteran who responded to both WTC terror attacks weighs in on Miami collapse rescue efforts

The fact that rescuers heard banging sounds from beneath the collapsed Champlain Towers South apartment building in Surfside, Fla., just outside Miami, is a good sign that they may yet find additional survivors, according to a former FDNY member who responded to both terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.”

The key to survival is whether or not there’s gonna be what we call voids,” said Vincent Pickford, a retired FDNY lieutenant and expert on confined space rescue operations. “What they’re looking for are pieces of the building that kind of land at right angles to each other so that it creates spaces where people could survive.” Read more.

Surfside, Florida mayor updates on building collapse: ‘Third-world phenomenon’

Surfside, Florida Mayor Charles Burkett updated Fox News late Thursday on the deadly building collapse that occurred overnight, in which about half of a high-rise apartment building pancaked down on itself.

At least one person has died and as many as 99 were unaccounted for as of Thursday afternoon, and Burkett told “Tucker Carlson Tonight” that such tragic events do not tend to happen in the U.S.

“Buildings like this do not fall in America. This is a third-world phenomenon and it’s shocking,” he said, praising first responders who rushed to the high-rise along the famous A1A. Read more and watch.

Surfside, Florida building collapse: Miami’s pro sports teams lend helping hand to community in need

Miami professional sports teams lent a helping hand Thursday after a partial building collapse in Surfside, Florida, left one dead and nearly 100 unaccounted for.

Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro and assistant coaches Chris Quinn and Eric Glass were on the scene handing out water at the reunification center after the tragedy in Surfside.

The Miami Dolphins Food Relief Program partner, Seed Miami Food Truck gave out meals to families and first responders in Surfside.

Major League Baseball’s Miami Marlins sent vans with meals and water to rescue workers and other essential items and toiletries to residents impacted by the building collapse. Read more.

Florida first responder radio depicts chilling moments as rescuers rushed to Surfside building

Communications between Miami-Dade first responders reveal the level-headed reaction as rescuers raced to the site of a collapsed high-rise apartment building in the coastal Florida community of Surfside.

The recordings detailed communications between dispatchers, hazmat units, firefighters and emergency medical responders who rushed to assess the damage and free as many survivors as they could from the crumbled Champlain Towers South building. One firefighter reported arriving “at the rubble pile” with an engine and another vehicle. 

“We’re gonna need some backboards,” he said. “We’ve got two [victims] over here we’re gonna need to extricate.” 

Click here to read more on Fox News.

Miami building collapse: Possible causes explained by area expert

A condominium collapse in Surfside, Florida, on Thursday morning has left many wondering what caused the massive implosion, which has so far killed one person and left 99 people unaccounted for.

Miami-Dade County authorities are currently conducting an investigation into the Champlain Towers South Condo collapse, though an official cause behind the devastation has yet to be determined.

Read more on Fox Business

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