US correspondent Emma Murphy brings back debris from broken homes, as hope fades in Miami’s search for a life
Briton is among 159 people still missing after the collapse of a building by the sea in Florida in the early hours of Thursday.
At least four people were killed and many more were extracted from the rubble after a wing of the 12-story building in the Surfside community near Miami collapsed around 1:30 a.m.
A British mother, along with her husband and daughter, are among those missing.
The Foreign Office said it supported the British woman’s family.
A spokesperson for FCDO said: “We are supporting the family of a British woman following the collapse of a residential building in Miami and our consulate in Miami is in contact with local authorities leading the operation. search and rescue. “
The sister of the first lady of Paraguay is also confirmed missing in the disaster.
Of those who were initially potentially missing, 120 have now been traced.
A state of emergency was declared following the building collapse, with President Joe Biden agreeing to send resources to the area.
Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel are dispatched to Miami to assist those on site with a search and rescue operation.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said: “We still have hope to find people alive.”
Ms Levine Cava added that rescuers heard noises at the site during the night as they searched for people among the rubble.
TV footage showed beds, tables and chairs inside as air conditioners hung from parts of the building, where wires hung. Authorities were not sure how many were in the tower when it fell. The building keeps a guest diary, but it does not keep track of when the owners are in residence.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said, “The building is literally a pancake.
“It’s heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean, to me, that we’re going to be as successful as we want to find people alive. “
Rescue dogs search for survivors in the rubble of the collapsed building
Hours after the collapse, researchers were trying to reach a trapped child whose parents were believed to have died.
In another case, rescuers saved a mother and her child, but the woman’s leg had to be amputated to get it out of the rubble, Frank Rollason, Miami-Dade emergency management director, told the Miami Herald. .
Teams were attempting to enter the building from a parking lot below the structure, although weather conditions would hamper the operation.
“These are very difficult times, and things are going to get more difficult as we go along,” said Freddy Ramirez, Miami-Dade Police Director.
Governor Ron DeSantis, who visited the scene, said television failed to capture the scale of what had happened.
Rescue teams “are doing everything they can to save lives. It’s going on, and they’re not going to rest, ”he said.
Hotels have been opened to some displaced residents, the mayor said, and deliveries of food, medicine and more have been hastily arranged.
Rescuers removed at least 35 people from the rubble mid-morning Thursday, and heavy equipment was brought in to help stabilize the structure to provide better access, said Raide Jadallah of Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue.
Nicholas Fernandez spent hours after the collapse trying to call two friends who were staying in the building with their young daughter.
The family had come to the United States to avoid the Covid-19 epidemic in their home country of Argentina, Fernandez said.
“The hope is that maybe someone will hear the call. I know there are dogs inside, ”he said.
“I know it might sound silly what I’m saying, but there is always hope until we hear different. “
A total of 22 South Americans were missing in the collapse – nine from Argentina, six from Paraguay, four from Venezuela and three from Uruguay, officials from those countries said.
Surfside Town Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer told WPLG the county-mandated 40-year recertification process is underway.
Ms Salzhauer said the process would go smoothly. A home inspector was on site Wednesday.
She said: “I want to know why this happened. This is really the only question … And can it happen again? Is there another of our buildings in town in danger? “