SURFSIDE, Fla. — At least 90 people are dead and 31 people are still unaccounted for after a multi-story condo building partially collapsed in Surfside, Florida, on Thursday, June 24, authorities said.
Remaining condo building demolished
Officials made the switch from rescue to recovery efforts
94 people killed
22 people unaccounted for
Cause of collapse unknown
Reunification center at 9301 Collins Avenue; 305-614-1819
How to Help
If you're looking to help, we've compiled a list below of organizations looking for volunteers or donations to help all of those who were affected.
- Coral Gables Community Foundation, the Miami Foundation, and the Key Biscayne Community Foundation are asking people to contribute to The Surfside Hardship Fund.
- The town of Surfside activated a form online for Miami-Dade County residents who want to volunteer to help the families of the victims. You must specify the service you can provide. You can fill out the official volunteer form here.
- The Greater Miami Jewish Federation is creating an emergency fund for short-term and long-term needs. They accept checks with the notation Surfside Building Collapse at 4200 Biscayne Blvd., Miami, FL 33137. They are also accepting donations via credit card. For more information about the fund, call 305-576-4000 or click here.
- The Shul of Bal Harbour is accepting donations for those impacted by the collapse. Click here to donate.
- The Miami Heat Charitable Fund is working with the humanitarian organization Direct Relief and raising funds to help survivors and first responders. Click here to donate.
- GoFundMe launched a centralized hub identifying all verified fundraisers. Click here to donate.
UPDATE: July 12, 10:15 a.m.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said first responders found four additional victims in the latest recovery efforts. The death toll now stands at 94, with 22 people potentially unaccounted for.
UPDATE: July 11 at 10 a.m.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the death toll has risen to 90 and there are now 31 people potentially unaccounted for.
As of Sunday, 71 out of 90 victims have been identified.
Cava added that more than 14 million pounds of debris had been removed from the collapse site.
A memorial walk was held Saturday night to honor the victims. Cava said family members and first responders also participated.
UPDATE: Saturday, July 10 at 10 a.m.
The death toll in the Florida condominium collapse has risen to 86, and 62 victims have now been identified.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said, additionally, 43 people are now potentially unaccounted for.
Levine Cava said the search for victims was stopped briefly at 7 a.m. due to lightning, but resumed an hour later. She added that inclement weather could be a factor Saturday as the search for victims continues.
They do expect to continue throughout the day, despite the rain.
UPDATE: Friday, July 9 at 5:30 p.m.
The death toll in the Florida condominium collapse has risen to 79 after 14 additional victims were pulled out of the rubble.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava announced the new number at a Friday news conference, calling it both “staggering” and “heartbreaking.” An additional 61 people are still unaccounted for.
On Thursday, Paraguay’s foreign minister said in a radio report that the body of the sister of that country’s first lady was among those found. Several Latin American citizens were reported in the building when it collapsed.
Rescue workers now focused on finding remains instead of survivors have pledged to keep up their search for victims until they clear all the debris at the site.
UPDATE: Friday, July 9 at 12 p.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday that 14 additional victims have been recovered from the rubble, bringing the death toll to 78.
The mayor said 47 victims have been identified with 62 people still missing.
UPDATE: Thursday, July 8 at 11 a.m.
Six more victims were recovered from the rubble of a collapsed condo tower overnight Wednesday into Thursday, bringing the death toll from the tragedy to 60.
Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that there are still 80 people who were presumed to be in the building at the time of the collapse are still missing.
The announcement on Thursday came two weeks to the day when the Champlain Towers South spontaneously crumbled to the ground. Levine Cava added that recovery efforts were briefly paused at around 1 a.m. ET time to commemorate the two-week anniversary.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 7 at 6 p.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava has reported they have made the switch from rescue to recovery efforts.
"To the families, we know that no words can ease your pain but we are with you and here for you in all the ways we could possibly be," Cava said.
Eight more bodies were found Wednesday, and the death toll has risen to 54. There are now 86 people potentially unaccounted for.
Officials thanked everyone for their continued support for the past two weeks. They said they hope to give the families some closure in this difficult time.
UPDATE: Wednesday, July 7 at 9:45 a.m.
A fire official says the death toll in the Florida condo building collapse has risen to 46 after workers discovered 10 more victims. Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah told family members in a private briefing Wednesday that workers had pulled 10 more bodies from the rubble and additional human remains. Jadallah says only 32 victims have been identified.
UPDATE: Monday, July 5 at 6:30 p.m.
The death toll has risen to 28 and there are now 117 people unaccounted for in the Surfside condo collapse, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava reported.
At this time, 26 out of the 28 victims have been identified and 191 people are now accounted for.
Mayor Cava said Fire and Rescue teams are now able to search all grids following the demolition of the damaged building. The teams have removed over 4.8 million pounds of concrete.
As Tropical Storm Elsa makes its way toward Florida, Fire and Rescue teams have had to pause their search operations throughout the day.
They will be watching out for heavy rainfall and strong winds tonight and tomorrow.
UPDATE: Sunday, July 4 at 7:25 p.m.
The remaining portion of the Surfside condo building will be demolished overnight.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday morning that the demolition was pushed to Sunday night between 10 p.m. - 3 a.m.
At 7 p.m., there will be a shelter-in-place for residents who live near the building. Mayor Cava said residents need to make sure all windows, doors and any air intakes are closed as the demolition takes place.
"Do not have fresh air coming in your A/C," Cava said.
Mayor Cava addressed the concerns of there being animals still inside the buildings, but she put those concerns to rest.
"I have made it a priority to do absolutely everything to search for any animals in the building. Three full sweeps have been done to seek an animal who might have been in hiding," Cava said.
She said Fire and Rescue have done everything they can to find any animals that may be in hiding.
The latest info is that there are no more animals inside the building after very careful searching, Cava said.
UPDATE: Saturday, July 3 at 11:30 p.m.
The remaining portion of the building will be demolished on Sunday, July 4, 2021.
Levine Cara said two additional bodies were located in the rubble overnight Friday into Saturday, bringing the death toll to 24.
188 people are accounted for and 124 people remain unaccounted for in the collapse.
Eighteen of the 24 people killed in the collapse have been identified. They are:
- Hilda Noriega, 92
- Antonio Lozano, 83
- Leon Oliwkowicz, 80
- Magaly Elena Delgado, 80
- Gladys Lozano, 79
- Christina Beatriz Elvira, 74
- Maria Obias-Bonnefoy, 69
- Frank Kleiman, 55
- Staci Dawn Fang, 54
- Manuel LaFont, 54
- Marcus Joseph Guara, 52
- Michael David Altman, 50
- Anna Ortiz, 46
- Anaely Rodriguez, 42
- Luis Bermudez, 26
- Andreas Giannitsopoulous, 21
- Lucia Guara, 10
- Emma Guara, 4
Mayor Levine Cara met with Governor DeSantis on Friday along with a panel of experts and made the decision to bring down the remaining portion of the building as quickly as possible due to the approach of Tropical Storm Elsa.
"We said yesterday that we were concerned that the storm-force winds, tropical force winds could affect the stability of this building," Levine Cara said. "Naturally, if we can bring this building down safely in the footprint that we can predict, that has maximum safety for our firefighters on the mound as well as to preserve the area that they are continuing to search and rescue, that is our very best path forward."
UPDATE: Friday, July 2 at 5:30 p.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said two more victims were recovered from the rubble of the collapsed condominium building, which brings the latest numbers from the site to 22 confirmed deaths, 126 people unaccounted for, and 188 people accounted for.
Mayor Cava also announced she has signed an emergency order to demolish the remaining part of the building once engineers have signed off on it. She said the order was signed now so that the demolition can move quickly once a date is set.
UPDATE: Friday, July 2 at 12 p.m.
Officials provided a tragic update Friday when they announced the body of a 7-year-old child of a City of Miami firefighter had been pulled from the rubble. It reinforced the physical and mental toll the rescue workers are dealing with in the face of such destruction.
"These men and women are paying an enormous human toll each and every day. I ask you to keep all of them in your thoughts and prayers," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Mayor Levine Cava said the latest numbers from the site included 20 confirmed deaths, 128 people unaccounted for, and 188 people accounted for after the partial collapse of the tower. The numbers remain fluid and officials said they expect the numbers to continue to change.
Governor Ron DeSantis and other officials on-site split their time between discussing the latest updates from the scene and encouraging residents in the area and across Florida to get prepared for Hurricane Elsa's likely arrival early next week.
"Hurricane Elsa, we are working and I ordered the Department of Emergency Management to prepare a state of emergency," Governor DeSantis said. "We are actively monitoring the situation. We are paying special attention to any potential impacts it could have in northeast Miami-Dade County. Our Department of Emergency Management is assuming that will happen (a Florida landfall) and is working to protect the equipment and any potential building issues."
"There will be some impacts (from Hurricane Elsa) in Florida at some point starting as early as Sunday night," DeSantis said. "We're going to be working on that and on this (the search and rescue), doing both on a dual-track."
A new update from Surfside, Florida is expected around 6:30 p.m. Friday
UPDATE: Thursday, July 1 at 6:30 p.m.
The search and rescue efforts have resumed following a halt of operations by structural engineers Thursday morning.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Levine Cava said around 4:45 p.m., the search and rescue efforts began and firefighters were ready to get back out there.
Officials are also "planning for the likely demolition of the building as the search and rescue continues."
As of 6:30 p.m., no new deaths have been confirmed. However, out of the 18 deaths, 17 of the victims have been identified and the next of kin were notified.
President Biden and Dr. Jill Biden visited Surfside on Thursday and Mayor Cava said she was very grateful and blessed to have them there during this difficult time.
"He spent over three hours with families and spent lots of time with first responders," Mayor Cava said.
President Biden shared his own grief and experience of tragedy following the death of his wife, Neilia Hunter Biden.
"We are truly one nation, united by the enormity of this tragedy. We are truly united by this tragedy," President Biden said during his press conference Thursday afternoon.
Mayor Cava said they are now closely monitoring Tropical Storm Elsa as it heads into the Caribbean Sea. She said the National Weather Service will head to Surfside Friday to debrief their search and rescue teams.
She said, at this time, there is little risk on Sunday where there will be heavy rainfall and heavy winds.
Officials also said this is a changing storm and residents should get prepared.
UPDATE: Thursday, July 1 at 4:30 p.m.
President Joe Biden visited with families of the Surfside, Florida condo collapse Thursday, spending hours listening.
"They're going through hell and those who survived the collapse and those who are missing loved ones," Biden said. "I apologize it so long to get here because I think it was important to talk to every single person who wanted to speak to me."
The president got fairly emotional talking about his own experience with grief.
“It’s bad enough to lose somebody. But the hard part, the really hard part is to not know if somebody survived,” he said, choking up and recalling the accident when he lost his first wife and daughter and not knowing if his sons would survive.
The president thanked Governor Ron DeSantis, Senators Marco Rubio and Rick Scott, along with Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and all of the local leaders for their response to the disaster. Governor DeSantis thanked the president earlier for being on top of the situation from the beginning. Biden said he had one goal in mind from the beginning.
"I think my colleagues will tell you, we have cut through bureaucracy," Biden said. "That’s why we decided to cover 100% of the search and rescue cost for the first 30 days."
Biden took time to pay special tribute to the firefighters and first responders who have been at the scene since the beginning, risking their lives to rescue and recover others.
"I want to give a special shoutout to the first responders and the International Association of Firefighters," the president said. "These folks are always showing up, no matter what, risking their lives. They’re remarkable, remarkable people, along with police and other first responders....they stand together and it's truly impressive."
Still, the president said the families were being realistic about hopes for finding survivors, "but I don't think that in any way suggests we should stop. I think we should move on and continue..."
President Biden said the families discussed with how the building would shake when local construction was ongoing and survivors told him of how the floors collapsed onto each other into underground parking garage. Biden said one interesting note to him was how many of the families discussed the impacts of global warming on the collapse along with the rising sea levels and the possibility of incoming tropical storms.
UPDATE: Thursday, July 1 at 9:30 a.m.
Search and rescue efforts have been halted at the scene due to structural concerns and fears of a possible further collapse.
"We were forced to halt operations on the collapse in the early morning hours due to structural concerns about the standing structure," Miami-Dade County Mayor Levine Cava said. "We will continue our search operation as soon as we can."
Miami-Dade officials said the temporary stop in search operations happened at 2:11 Thursday morning, almost exactly a week after the structure initially collapsed. Officials said they found six to 12 inches of movement in a large column hanging from the structure and slight movement in the concrete structure on the north and south corners of the building and that prompted the shutdown of operations.
President Joe Biden is in South Florida and will meet with families and receive updates about the situation Thursday morning and afternoon. He's expected to speak to the media later in the day Thursday and you can watch those remarks here on ABCActionNews.com.
Mayor Cava said the president's visit "will have no impact" on what is happening at the site with regard to search and rescue.
"The search and rescue operation will continue as soon as it is safe to do so. The only reason for the pause is the safety of this structure," Levine Cava said.
Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky did say during questions from the media that rescuers had initially heard the sound of a female voice from inside the rubble, but the voice had since gone silent.
"During our initial search and rescue efforts, when we were working under the structure, we did hear audible sounds," Chief Cominsky said. "We heard a female voice and then didn’t hear it anymore. We continued searching and continue searching. Unfortunately, we didn’t have success with that."
UPDATE: Wednesday, June 30 at 6:30 p.m.
Two bodies of children were found in the condo's rubble Wednesday, Miami-Dade County officials said. The death toll now rises to 18.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Levine-Cava said the two children were ages 4 and 10.
"Our community, our nation and the world are all mourning with these families who have all lost loved ones," Mayor Cava said.
Twenty-six organizations are in the area helping families with whatever they may need at this time, including lodging and mental health assistance.
Officials are also monitoring a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic. They have been coordinating with the National Hurricane Center so they can begin preparing for a potential impact.
They said, at this time, the system will not impact the Miami-Dade County area through Saturday.
UPDATE: Wednesday, June 30 at 11:30 a.m.
Fire official tells families in Surfside, Florida that four additional victims have been found dead in condo rubble; death toll rises to 16.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Levine-Cava said the four additional bodies were recovered Wednesday and that 12 next of kin notifications have been completed. The mayor said the number of accounted for victims is now 139 and the number unaccounted for stands at 147.
"The process of verifying every name on this list is slow and methodical. The numbers are fluid and will continue to change," Mayor Levine Cava said. "Anyone with information, please provide that information to us as soon as possible at 305-614-1819 or on https://miamidade.gov/emergency
The mayor said all legitimate sites for donations will also be featured on the website. She said she was "beyond grateful for this incredible team, for this deployment, and for this community."
Officials said they would also be changing how they are reporting numbers moving forward. Previously, the number of accounted for had included the dead, but moving forward they will separate the numbers out to those who have died, those accounted for, and those unaccounted for.
Perhaps complicating the issues in Surfside are the tropics. With a potential tropical storm forming in the Atlantic, rescue and recovery efforts could be hampered. But officials on the ground said the state can handle multiple emergencies at once and would be ready.
"We take those very seriously and will take whatever steps are necessary so we would be able to respond," Governor Ron DeSantis said.
UPDATE: Tuesday, June 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says another victim was found Tuesday, increasing the death toll to 12.
She said the numbers they report are fluid and are constantly changing. As of Tuesday evening, 125 people have been accounted for and 149 people are still unaccounted for.
The mayor continued to thank the first responders who have been working 24/7.
"Search and rescue continued throughout the day despite the terrible weather and we are continuing to make headway in our search," Mayor Cava said.
They have now fully opened the family assistance center and have several resources to help them during this difficult time.
UPDATE: Tuesday, June 29 at 11:30 a.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says there are no new fatalities to report, adding that all families of the 11 victims have been notified.
Cava continued to express gratitude for the first responders who are working around the clock. She said there are 210 people working on the mound.
"They live to save lives," Cava said.
President Joe Biden is set to visit Surfside on Thursday. Cava said Biden will meet with first responders and the families' missing loved ones. Cava said it's critical to have federal support.
UPDATE: Monday, June 28 at 6:35 p.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says another victim was found Monday afternoon, increasing the death toll to 11.
Mayor Cava said 136 are now accounted for and 150 people are still missing.
"I want to thank the men and women who are working tirelessly on the site," Mayor Cava said. "The team has been working 24/7."
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue officials reiterated they are continuing to dig through the rubble with all resources in hopes to find more victims.
UPDATE: Monday, June 28 at 11:55 a.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava says a tenth victim was found on Monday morning.
Mayor Cava said 135 people are now accounted for and 151 are still missing.
Cava says detectives are working in real-time to audit the list of those unaccounted for as they continue to get calls from family members about their loved ones. Cava says detectives are getting information about the same people from various sources.
"We are going to get to the bottom of what happened here," Cava said, adding that search and rescue is still the top priority.
UPDATE: Sunday, June 27 at 6:45 p.m.
At this time, the death toll remains at 9, according to Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
Mayor Cava said they now have 134 people accounted for and 152 unaccounted for. She said these numbers aren't final, but search and rescue efforts are still underway.
Family members of loved ones who have died had the chance to visit the site privately. Mayor Cava said it was very important for them to have the chance to do that.
She also thanked the continued support coming in throughout the world. The Support Surfside fund has now reached over $1.2 million.
Over $1.2M has been donated through https://t.co/rpyxZ77uu1 for all those impacted by this unthinkable tragedy. On behalf of Miami-Dade County, we are so deeply grateful to the entire global community for the outpouring of support.— Daniella Levine Cava (@MayorDaniella) June 27, 2021
YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:
UPDATE: Sunday, June 27 at 11:15 a.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said rescuers found additional bodies under the rubble and the death toll has risen to 9.
Gov. DeSantis was in Miami Sunday and thanked the federal government for their help in the search and rescue efforts.
"Thanks to the community for stepping up. There are folks who have been misplaced and their lives have been shattered," DeSantis said. "We appreciated the collaboration with the federal government."
Mayor Cava also thanked the hundreds of first responders who are rotating to search the rubble. She said there are always 6-8 crews searching through the rubble at a time.
They are continuing to sweep piles of rubble and are using K-9's and SONAR equipment to try to find survivors.
YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:
UPDATE: Saturday, June 26, 7 p.m.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levina Cava says that one additional body has been found in the rubble of the Surfside condominium, as well as other human remains. DNA samples from family members are being taken to help identify the additional remains found.
Authorities released the names of four of the deceased via a Twitter post Saturday night. The four residents were identified as Stacie Dawn Fang, 54; Antonio Lozano, 83; Gladys Lozano, 79; Manuel LaFont, 54.
UPDATE: Friday, June 25, 2:15 p.m.
The numbers accounted for and unaccounted for in Surfside have not changed since the morning's update, officials said Friday afternoon.
Governor Ron DeSantis said state and federal aid are either on scene or will be in the area shortly. Governor DeSantis said he's been able to speak to the director of FEMA Thursday night and, "She's great and wants to be helpful." DeSantis said he also spoke to President Joe Biden Friday afternoon who told the governor he has the full support of the federal government in the rescue efforts.
"As needs arise, the state is here to help as is the federal government," DeSantis said Friday afternoon.
The governor also said he wants a thorough, but quick investigation to determine what caused the collapse.
"We need a definitive explanation for how this may have happened. It needs to be timely," DeSantis said. "The state will support whatever we can to do this right, but also to do it timely; so we can get answers to the family."
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said officials are providing briefings to the waiting families every four hours and are providing the families with "detailed descriptions of the operation."
UPDATE: Friday, June 25, 8:15 AM
Miami-Dade County officials gave an update on the Surfside building collapse Friday morning. Three people were confirmed dead overnight, bringing the total to four so far. They say 120 people are accounted for now but the unaccounted for number has gone up to 159.
Search and rescue efforts continue to be the priority.
FEMA has issued an emergency declaration for the situation.
The mayor highlighted the bravery of the search and rescue teams as they put themselves at risk while searching for survivors.
UPDATE: Thursday, June 24, 8:15 PM
Miami-Dade County officials gave a quick update on the Surfside building collapse. At this time, 1 person is dead, 102 people have been accounted for and 99 have not been accounted for.
"We stand in solidarity once again to tell you we are working around the clock to search and rescue people in this rubble," said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
US Senator Marco Rubio said this is a dark and tragic day, but they continue to pray for some miracles.
"I can't imagine the pain, all we can do is try and help people in that situation to make sure this doesn't happen again," Rubio said. "You never want this to happen anywhere, but we are blessed to have the best people in the world responding to this."
Rubio reiterated and thanked the White House and President Biden for sending resources to help people get through this difficult time.
The White House released a statement on resources sent to Miami-Dade County:
"At the President’s request, FEMA reached out to the President of the Red Cross and confirmed that it is providing temporary shelter and housing for those impacted by the collapsed building.
Red Cross has established a short-term shelter and are locating hotel rooms for all families impacted. They are also providing a small grant to each family to help with short-term expenses, in addition to providing mental health counselors to work with the families.
FEMA has been in close contact with Florida officials and is prepared to provide specialized search and rescue teams and equipment from the National Urban Search and Rescue System if requested. Two search and rescue teams from FEMA National Urban Search and Rescue System are supporting the response to this devastating incident. FEMA stands ready to assist in other ways as needed."
Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue will be working throughout the night utilizing K-9's and SONAR equipment to try to find survivors in the rubble.
YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:
UPDATE: Thursday, June 24, 6 PM
Governor Ron DeSantis spoke with ABC Action News Anchor Wendy Ryan on the state’s response to the deadly condo collapse in Miami-Dade County.
DeSantis said he has declared a State of Emergency in Miami-Dade County to get FEMA assistance to those displaced by the Surfside building collapse.
Some more specifics — DeSantis declared a state of emergency for Miami-Dade County. Details below: pic.twitter.com/rtSjQoPOK0— Forrest Saunders (@FBSaunders) June 24, 2021
UPDATE: Thursday, June 24, 4:45 PM
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said so far, 1 person is dead and 99 people are unaccounted for after the Surfside building collapse.
"It’s been over 12 hours, we’re at about 15 hours, since this tragic, devastating emergency. Our people are working around the clock. Our fire-rescue team leaving no stone unturned," said Mayor Cava.
At the family reunification center, Mayor Cava said families are being briefed on which people have been accounted for. They also have assembled support systems, food, hotel rooms, social services, medical assistance and a special emergency fund.
She said she has signed an emergency order and they are waiting on Governor DeSantis' approval so FEMA can come and provide aid.
President Biden also promised "full federal support" during his press conference Thursday afternoon.
"We are all praying, we are all crying, we are all here with the suffering families and urge everyone to join us in prayers," said Mayor Cava.
Mayor Cava said at this time, they have engineers on-site to try and understand why the collapse occurred.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said they shifted all operations to underneath the rubble around 6 a.m. M-D Fire Rescue said they are utilizing K-9's and SONAR equipment to try to find survivors in the rubble. However, officials said every time a cut is made, the rubble can shift causing further structural issues.
One of the shifts in the rubble as rescuers worked sparked a small fire around 2:30 pm, but it was extinguished within 20 minutes.
As the families of the missing hold out hope, Miami-Dade Fire officials said while they have heard a possible banging in the rubble, they haven't heard any voices during the rescue operations.
YOU CAN WATCH THE FULL PRESS CONFERENCE BELOW:
The Champlain Towers South condominium is located in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach. A massive search and rescue operation was underway before dawn, as crews carefully checked the wreckage and remaining structure for survivors.
Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke from Surfside just before 1 p.m. He thanked the first responders for working tirelessly in the search and rescue efforts, and said it was a "really tragic scene."
Footage from the scene showed firefighters pulling a boy from the rubble alive and rescuing other people from still-standing balconies.
Witnesses told Miami ABC affiliate WPLG that more people are still trapped inside the building.
MIRACLE RESCUE: Firefighters pull boy from rubble alive after multi-story building partially collapses near Miami Beach.— ABC News (@ABC) June 24, 2021
A huge search and rescue effort is ongoing. https://t.co/eOl265Wngw pic.twitter.com/A62e5ka58v
The oceanfront condominium, which was built in the 1980s, has over 100 apartment units and was believed to be substantially full when a third of it collapsed in the early morning hours, according to Burkett. The building was undergoing roof work, the mayor said.
Some 15 families walked out of the building alive on their own and were put up in a local hotel, according to Burkett. Search dogs did an initial pass around the wreckage when it was still dark but there were no signs of survivors at that time, the mayor said.
The Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said it has sent more than 80 units to the scene. Meanwhile, multiple police and fire departments from across Miami-Dade County have been deployed to assist, according to the Miami Beach Police Department.
One witness told ABC News that his wife cares for an elderly woman who lives in the condominium and frantically called him around 1:15 a.m. local time, after the units next door came crashing down. He said his wife and the elderly woman were both rescued.
People in neighboring buildings have been evacuated to a nearby recreational center, another witness told ABC News.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue says a reunification center has been set up for anyone looking for unaccounted or missing relatives at 9301 Collins Avenue. Anyone with family members that are unaccounted for or are safe, please call 305-614-1819 to account for them.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava took to Twitter to express her gratitude for the first responders on scene of "this horrific tragedy."
"May they stay safe while working to save lives," Levine Cava said.
The cause of the partial collapse was unknown. The Miami-Dade Police Department said it is investigating the incident.