99 missing, 10 hurt and 1 dead in high-rise collapse near Miami Beach, officials say

Nearly 100 people were unaccounted for after a high-rise condo building partially collapsed near Miami Beach early Thursday, leaving at least one person dead and 10 injured, officials said.

Rescuers continued to search through the debris of the 12-story building in Surfside, a town in Florida’s Miami-Dade County, for any survivors Thursday night and were not giving up, officials said.

Raide Jadallah, the assistant chief of operations for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said that of the building’s 136 units, 55 in the northeast corridor collapsed about 1:30 a.m.

Thirty-five people were pulled from the collapsed part of the building, and two people had been pulled out of the rubble as of Thursday afternoon, Jadallah said.

NBC Miami aired video of a boy being pulled out alive and placed on a stretcher.

There were 102 people accounted for from the building and 99 people unaccounted for, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters late Thursday afternoon.

“Quite a few” people in the building at the time of the collapse, and some were able to make their way to the front of the structure as the back fell, officials said.

Rescuers with sonar equipment were carefully navigating the collapse in hopes of finding more people.

“It is a very slow and methodical process because every time we start breaching parts of the structure, we get debris that falls on us,” said Jadallah, adding that a small fire sparked by the moving rubble had to be put out.

Rescuers are keeping their ears open for any sounds, even if not voices.

“We did receive sounds, not necessarily people talking, but sounds … of a possibility of a banging,” Jadallah said late Thursday afternoon. “Short of that we haven’t heard any voices coming from the pile.”

Euclides Acevedo, Paraguay’s foreign minister, said in interviews Thursday that members of President Mario Abdo Benítez’s family were among the missing. They were identified as Sophia López Moreira, the sister of first lady Silvana López Moreira, and her husband, Luis Pettengill. Their three children and Lady Luna Villalba, a worker accompanying the family, were also missing, Acevedo said.


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