Rescue teams continue working at the site of the deadly Miami building collapse
The death toll from the collapse of Champlain Towers South in Surfside, Florida, continues to rise, with 12 confirmed fatalities, and a further 149 people missing.
Authorities in Florida have asked the federal government to send another rescue team to aid its efforts amid reports that tropical storms could hit Miami in the coming days.
Over the weekend, US media reported that a Surfside official assured residents of the now-collapsed condominium that it was “in very good shape”, a month after an engineering report found it had “major structural damage”.
A resident of a sister building told reporters he had “concerns” about a crack that appeared n his block, Champlain Towers East, after Thursday’s tragedy. Residents in the block have been offered to evacuate, although there is no imminent threat.
It comes amid reports that the building’s developers broke rules by adding an additional floor to the 12-storey building, and afterwards ignored warnings of structural damage.
Those with family members who may have been in the building at the time of its collapse are asked to call 305-614-1819. More information here.
Former fire official warns of ‘secondary collapse’ and ‘widowmaker’ debris at collapse site
The danger hasn’t abated even though the Champlain Towers have already collapsed.
Search and rescue crews digging through the wreckage face the risk of a “secondary collapse” as well as “widowmakers,” hanging debris which has already fallen at the crash site today.
“It’s gunna take some time. We’re still in rescue operations,” Dave Downey, former chief of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue told CNN on Sunday, describing the slow, methodical pace of the search so far. “There’s still the possibility of a secondary collapse. We still have all the hanging degree we refer to as ‘widowmakers’ on the building.”
ICYMI: Death toll rises to nine as rescuers dig trench for better access in rubble
The number of confirmed deaths in a South Florida apartment building collapse has risen to nine, according to local officials.
Danielle Zoellner has this report.
‘As of today, one victim passed away in the hospital, and we’ve recovered eight more victims on-site, so I am confirming today that the death toll is at nine,’ says Mayor Daniella Levine Cava
Stories from the collapse: Man says he has received 16 silent calls from missing grandparents’ landline
One of the families of a couple who lived in the Miami-area apartment building that collapsed earlier this week say they haven’t yet heard from them, but that they have been getting unexplained silent phone calls from their landline.
Jake Samuelson told Florida’s TV station WPLG that his grandparents Arnie and Myriam Notkin are among the more than 150 people unaccounted for in the Champlain Towers collapse. The family hasn’t heard from them since the disaster, but they have received 16 calls from the landline phone that was usually by the pair’s bedside table. I’ve got more details here.
More than 150 people still unaccounted for as search-and-rescue efforts continue
Good morning and welcome back to The Independent’s live coverage of the search and rescue efforts at the collapsed Miami condominium.
Miami official said building was ‘in good shape’ despite concerns set out in engineering report
A Surfside official assured residents of the now-collapsed building in Miami that it was “in very good shape”, a month after an engineering report found it had “major structural damage”, the US media has reported.
Ross Prieto, a town inspector, made the comments to residents of Champlain Towers South in a meeting in November 2018, according to NPR.
His words directly contradicted a report released five weeks earlier, which warned that failed waterproofing in the building’s concrete structural slab needed to be addressed.
Nine people are known to have died after the 12-storey building collapsed on Thursday, with more than 150 people still missing.
Tower survivor describes trapped neighbours’ calls for help
Steve Rosenthal, 72, had been living in Unit 705 of Champlain Towers South Condo for two decades when his home was destroyed last week.
The septuagenarian was luckier than most and was not trapped by falling concrete, steel or other debris, later being rescued by the emergency services from his balcony.
Speaking to the New York Post, Mr Rosenthal said it was a “miracle” he had survived.
He told the paper how he heard his trapped neighbours, yelling “‘Help me! Help me! Get me out!’”.
“I know these people, these are my neighbours. It is pretty sad stuff,” he added.
People visit makeshift memorial for victims of the building collapse
Florida rescuers ‘hopeful’ about finding more survivors
Rescue workers searching the rubble of the Champlain Towers South Condo still hope they might be able to find more survivors.
On Sunday night, the Democratic representative Debbie Wasserman Schultz said she had heard from the rescue team about “the hope that they have”.
“We obviously have some realism that we’re dealing with. But ... as long as the experts that we trust are telling me they have hope to find people who might have been able to survive, then we have to make sure that we hold on to that hope,” she told reporters.
Meanwhile, the families of the missing were bussed into a site on Sunday, where they could watch the work of firefighters, sniffer dogs and rescue experts using radar and sonar.
Returning to a nearby hotel, Dianne Ohayon, whose parents, Myriam and Arnie Notkin, are missing, said: “We are just waiting for answers. That’s what we want.
“It’s hard to go through these long days and we haven’t gotten any answers yet.”
Head of Miami-Dade PD praises international support
Alfredo Ramirez III, director of Miami-Dade Police Department, has praised the international support that Miami has received in the wake of the collapse of the Champlain Towers South building.
Rescue crews from Israel and Mexico arrived in Miami on Friday to help with the search operations.
Mr Ramirez tweeted that the incident “has touched the hearts of the entire world”, adding that it was “comforting” - despite the grief - to see the international efforts to locate survivors.
Survivors say building ‘was shaking’ in recent years
Survivors of the collapsed condo in Miami have spoken about how their building “was shaking all the time” in recent years during the construction of a nearby high-rise block.
Eliana Salzhauer, one of Surfside’s three town commissioners, detailed their comments on Sunday evening.
Residents told her there was shaking, cracking and water leaks at Champlain Towers South during the work.
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