Fifty missing in catastrophic Miami condo collapse

by Nate Morris
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This aerial photo shows part of the 12-story oceanfront Champlain Towers South Condo that collapsed early Thursday, June 24, 2021 in Surfside, Fla. (Amy Beth Bennett /South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)

(Editor’s note: officials confirmed an updated number of 99 missing by the end of the day.)

The small Miami suburb of Surfside, Florida was rocked by tragedy early Thursday morning when a 12-story condo building partially collapsed.

Seventy of the 130 units in the Champlain Towers South condominium were damaged or destroyed in the collapse. 

“Probably a third or more of the building is totally pancaked,” said Mayor Charles Burkett.

“It looks like a bomb went off.”

At least one confirmed dead

Several survivors have been pulled from the rubble, including a young boy, according to local reports.

Footage from a nearby surveillance camera shows the horrifying moment that the majority of the building was reduced to rubble. 

Without warning, a middle section of the building crumbles, sending a plume of dust billowing into the air. Moments later, a second portion of the structure collapses on itself. 

Officials report that one person has been confirmed to have died, but that number is likely to rise.

One witness, Nicolas Fernandez, described desperately trying to locate family friends who lived in the building. 

Dozens unaccounted for

Since it happened, I’ve been calling them nonstop, just trying to ring their cellphones as much as we can to help the rescue to see if they can hear the cellphones.”

Officials told news outlets that 51 people are currently unaccounted for as rescue efforts continue. By the end of the day, the number had risen to 99 missing.


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