The collapse of Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, a small beachside town, was reported at 1:30 a.m. Crews searched for survivors and carefully examined the wreckage.
It is not clear how many people are missing.
According to the Foreign Ministry of Paraguay, six Paraguayan nationals had been reported missing from the building: Sophia Lopez-Moreira (sister of the country’s first lady); her husband Luis Pettengill; their children; and Lady Luna Villalba, their nanny. Due to the incident, President Mario Abdo Benitez cancelled his events.
Gabe Nir, a Champlain Tower South resident, shared his story with daily reuters about running from Champlain Tower South when they heard the building collapse.
Gabe Nir claimed he felt another, more severe collapse and that they fled for their lives when a thick cloud covered them in white dust, making it difficult to breathe. Nir said that the collapse was like an earthquake and that he is grateful to be alive.
According to Chief Raide Jadallah, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant, the crews have so far rescued 35 people trapped inside the building, and two more from below the rubble.
According to Jadallah, the condominium was composed of 136 units. Approximately 55 of these units collapsed along the northeast corridor.
The cause of the collapse remains unknown. Miami-Dade Police Department is currently leading an investigation.
Freddy Ramirez (director of Miami-Dade Police Department), stated that the department’s goal was to conduct an investigation and provide closure for families.
Biden stated that he spoke to the mayor of Miami-Dade and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz who represent the district. Biden stated that he was still waiting for the governor to request an emergency declaration. However, he said he is ready to use federal resources immediately if asked.