SURFSIDE, Fla. (AP) — The Champlain Towers South drew people from around the globe to enjoy life in South Florida, some for a night, some to live. But the collapse of the building on Thursday morning has left many South Florida residents without accommodation.
A couple from Argentina and their young daughter. A beloved retired Miami-area teacher and his wife. Orthodox Jews from Russia. Israelis. The sister of Paraguay’s first lady. Others from South America. They were among the nearly 100 people who remained missing Friday morning, a day after the 12-story building collapsed into rubble early Thursday. Much of the Champlain’s beachside sheared off for unknown reasons, pancaking into a pile of concrete and metal more than 30 feet (10 meters) high.
Three bodies were pulled from the rubble overnight, bringing the death toll to four, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said on “Good Morning America” Friday. Officials feared that number could skyrocket. Eleven injuries were reported, with four people treated at hospitals.
“These are very difficult times, and things are going to get more difficult as we move forward,” Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez said.
Fire Rescue personnel and others worked through the night in hopes of finding survivors.
State Sen. Jason Pizzo of Miami Beach told the Miami Herald he watched as tactical teams of six worked early Friday to sift through the debris. He said he saw one body taken in a yellow body bag and another that was marked. They were taken to a homicide unit tent that was set up along the beach.
Many people remained at the reunification center set up near the collapse site early Friday morning, awaiting results of DNA swabs that could help identify victims.
Officials said no cause for the collapse has been determined.
Video of the collapse showed the center of the building appearing to tumble down first and a section nearest to the ocean teetering and coming down seconds later, as a huge dust cloud swallowed the neighborhood.
About half the building’s roughly 130 units were affected, and rescuers pulled at least 35 people from the wreckage in the first hours after the collapse.
Television video early Friday showed crews still fighting flareups of fires on the rubble piles. Intermittent rain over South Florida is also hampering the search.