Monday, June 28, 2021
More dead, 152 missing
Fear of high casualties in Florida is growing
Three days after the devastating collapse of half a high-rise building in Florida, more bodies are recovered. Well over 100 people are still missing, but the circumstances mean that hopes of finding them alive are dwindling. A lawsuit is already pending against the homeowner.
After the partial collapse of a high-rise in Florida, the number of dead has risen to nine, according to authorities, 152 people are still missing. This was confirmed by the Mayoress of Miami-Dade County, Daniella Levine Cava, on Sunday (local time). Four other bodies were found in the rubble, and other human remains were discovered. In view of the many still missing, the total number of deaths remains “extremely uncertain”.
In addition to the hundreds of helpers, rescue dogs, sonar devices and drones as well as infrared scanners, two large cranes and two excavators are now in use to search for the victims. Experts from Israel and Mexico help with the search. “It is an extremely difficult situation,” said fire chief Alan Cominsky. “Our rescue teams are working non-stop, we are doing everything we can, searching every corner and not giving up hope of finding survivors.”
The accident occurred on Friday night in Surfside, a place on an island off the city of Miami. Of the more than 130 apartments, around 80 are said to have been inhabited at the time of the accident. Some residents were able to take the stairs to safety or were rescued from balconies. It is feared that many were surprised in their sleep. The authorities therefore fear that the number of victims will increase significantly.
Class action lawsuit against owners
It is still unclear why the twelve-story building partially collapsed. According to local authorities, repairs have been made to the roof of the Champlain Towers South facility, among other things. According to media reports, the building near Surfside Beach was built in 1981. According to the authorities, it is unclear why the building partially collapsed.
A report published by the city of Surfside in 2018 found “major structural damage” as well as cracks and crumbling in the basement of the building. Accordingly, the expert Frank Morabito called for the damage to be repaired promptly. Most of the damage was “likely caused by years of exposure to the corrosive salt air on the South Florida coast,” the report said at the time. Without rework, “the extent of concrete deterioration will expand exponentially”.
According to US media, a resident has already filed a class action lawsuit against the building’s owners seeking compensation for the victims. Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said Saturday the evacuation of a nearby similar building is under consideration. But there is no evidence of imminent danger.