Search and rescue teams are working around the clock, combing through twisted steel and concrete as they look for any signs of life in the aftermath of theearly Thursday in Surfside, Florida, just north of Miami Beach.
The remains of three people were pulled from the rubble overnight, bringing the death toll in the collapse to four, CBS Miami reports. As of Friday morning, 159 people were unaccounted for, said officials.
President Biden declared a state of emergency in Florida, on top of the ones declared by Governor Ron DeSantis and Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava.
The 12-story structure had 136 units and officials said 55 on the northeast side were involved in the collapse.
The tower was built 41 years ago on reclaimed wetlands. CBS Miami quotes Florida International University earth and environment professor Shimon Wdowinski as saying the land under the building was slowly sinking for decades. The sinking was measured at a rate of two millimeters a year during the 1990s. But he stressed that alone wouldn’t cause a building to collapse.
Town Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer told the Miami Herald that a resident of the building told her it was “shaking” during construction over the past few years in the building next door.
The lawyer for the building’s condo association, Ken Direktor, told CBS Miami it was undergoing a required 40-year recertification but “nothing appeared either to the engineers or to any of the residents that suggests anything like this was imminent. Nothing.”