Crews heard noises inside the rubble while searching for survivors at the Champlain Towers South condo, Surfside. This 12-storey apartment block came crashing to the ground at 1.30 am. Authorities stated that they expected more deaths, but could not give a precise number.
Alfredo Ramirez (Miami-Dade Police Chief) stated that 99 people were still missing and that 53 condo owners had been rescued or found their way home. He said that although the cause of the collapse is unknown, an estimate of 55 apartments were affected.
According to Sally Heyman (County Commissioner representing Surfside), police have opened a homicide investigation.
Surfside is a small city on the oceanfront, just north of Miami Beach. More than 80 fire-rescue personnel attended the scene. The Miami-Dade Commission said that an early video showed the rescue of a boy from the wreckage. This was one of 35 people who were rescued alive.
"They brought dogs that can search for survivors in the rubble," Eliana Salthauer, a Surfside Commissioner, told the Miami Herald . They aren't showing up very often. Nobody is celebrating the fact that anyone was pulled out.
Salzhauer confirmed that there had been recent roof construction and stated that residents had told her that a building inspector visited the property Wednesday. However, she stated that it was too early to speculate as to the probable cause.
Jimmy Patronis, a Florida cabinet Member and the state's Fire Marshal, said that rescue crews heard sounds as they worked through the rubble. "The rescuers can hear the sounds coming from the rubble. It can be very frustrating. He said that you get in the zone of being so passionate, so focused and so determined to save someone's life at an event like this.