Rescue operations are continuing after the collapse of a 12 storey residential building north of Miami yesterday morning.
At least one person has been killed and 99 are still missing. Currently around 102 people have now been accounted for, although it is not known exactly how many people were in the building.
It remains unclear what caused the collapse at Champlain Towers, located in Surfside, Florida, but experts who studied the apartment complex last year warned that it was unstable.
One study from a Florida International University researcher found that the building – which was constructed on reclaimed wetlands – had been sinking at a rate of 2mm per year for the last three decades. This may have affected it structurally.
Built in 1980, the apartment block was due its standard 40 year review. According to officials, it was undergoing its “recertification” process and required repairs.
“There were structural issues obviously – the building did collapse,” Miami-Dade mayor Daniella Levine told reporters.
Work was being done on the building’s roof, but Surfside mayor Charles Burkett said he did not see how that could have been the cause of yesterday’s collapse.
A full investigation will begin after the rescue mission.
President Joe Biden has approved an emergency declaration for Florida, which means the Federal Emergency Management Agency will help state agencies with the relief effort.
Rescuers have been using sonar and search cameras as well as specially trained dogs, with Miami-Dade Fire Rescue assistant fire chief Ray Jadallah describing the rescue process as “slow and methodical”.
He said: “Any time we started breaching parts of the structure, we get rubble falling on us.”
Department of Civil Engineering https://www.ibu.edu.ba/department-of-civil-engineering/