18 dead including 2 children, 145 missing after partial building collapse in Surfside

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18 people are dead and many more are still missing after part of a South Florida building collapsed early Thursday morning, Miami-Dade officials confirmed.

Search efforts at the collapse site were halted shortly after 2 a.m. on Thursday due to concerns about the standing structure, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press conference.

The Mayor added that President Joe Biden’s visit played no role in the pause of operations. The pause was called in after crews noticed 6 to 12 inches of movement in a portion of the building that could damage remaining support beams.

Structural engineers will develop options to restart search and rescue efforts, officials said.

A timeline for when rescue efforts could resume is not known.

The death toll rose to 18 on Wednesday after four more bodies were discovered, Miami-Dade officials confirmed during a news briefing. Two of the dead found on Wednesday are children, ages 4 and 10.

Another 147 people are still unaccounted for.

Several bodies that have been found so far have been identified using DNA from the families, Mayor Cava said.

One of the victims of the collapse died in the hospital, officials said.

Miami-Dade Police released the names of 16 out of the 18 confirmed dead:

Officials said they will not release identities until victim’s families have been notified.

President Biden and First Lady Jill Biden will be traveling to Surfside

The mayor said officials will be conducting a full investigation with local, state, and federal officials.

As officials continue to investigate what caused the collapse at the Champion Towers South, city officials in Surfside released a trove of documents related to the building, including a consultant’s 2018 report. NBC News reported the consultant warned there was evidence of “major structural damage” below the pool deck of the condo building nearly three years before it collapsed.

Morabito Consultants, a company who inspected the building in 2018, released this statement.

Miami-Dade officials have asked residents in the second building to temporarily relocate, and they are working with FEMA to make those arrangements, but this is not mandatory. It’s a voluntary relocation if residents want the option. Officials said they plan to do a deep dive over the next few weeks to make sure it’s safe.

Governor Ron DeSantis declared a State of Emergency in Miami-Dade County while crews continue to work.

President Biden authorized the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) to coordinate all disaster relief efforts on the federal level.

More than 80 units responded to the condominium building that collapsed near 88th Street and Collins Avenue just north of Miami Beach around 2 a.m., Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials said.

Southwest Florida’s own Urban Search and Rescue Task Force 6 is heading to Surfside to support first responders already on site. The team is made up of firefighters, specialists, volunteers, and three Lee County EMS paramedics. They are trained to search rubble and provide emergency medical care, Lee County Public Safety said.

Officials at nearby Aventura Hospital said they had received three patients from the scene. Two were in critical condition.

Crews started working their search underneath the rubble, and said during a 4:30 p.m. Thursday news conference that they are detecting sound using Sonar. Engineers are out to secure the structure, so it doesn’t fall on firefighters.

One witness posted video of the aftermath on social media and said his hotel across the street needed to be evacuated.

“The building, one of these huge buildings, gone, right there beside us, the craziest thing I’ve ever heard in my life,” the man said in the video. “Look at the building, it’s gone.”

“Miami-Dade Fire Rescue is on scene, they’re conducting rescues as we speak,” Surfside Police Sgt. Marian Cruz said. “It’s a very active scene, I advise everyone to just stay out of the area so that fire rescue and officers can conduct rescues and do what we need to do.”

The 12-story building was built in 1981 and had more than 136 apartment units, records showed. Officials said they don’t why the South Florida building collapsed.

A survivor said she escaped from the 9th floor and that the collapse sounded like an earthquake.

Officials said residents were being moved to the Surfside Community Center, and streets in the area were closed.

Governor DeSantis visited Surfside on Thursday afternoon. He thanked Miami-Dade Fire crews and first responders for risking their lives to save victims of the collapse.

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