The relentless search for survivors of the spectacular collapse of a residential building near Miami continued on the night of Friday 25 to Saturday 26 June, without bringing any result for the moment, raising fears of a catastrophic toll.
At least four people have been killed in the so far unexplained disaster, which occurred on Thursday before dawn. One of them has been identified, according to US media. This is Stacie Fang, the mother of a 15-year-old boy rescued from the rubble on Thursday morning. Taken to hospital, she did not survive, according to the Miami Herald. The bodies were evacuated so that the police could confirm their identity and inform the families.
But the authorities are still without news of 159 people, despite the relentless efforts of rescuers to find any survivors in the rubble. “Unfortunately, the figures are the same as this morning”Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said at a press conference. “We haven’t found anyone else in today’s digs, but we will continue the search tonight and God willing there will be good news later that night or tomorrow morning. “
Difficult research conditions
Firefighters, dog units and cranes were still active on Friday, despite difficult weather conditions, to try to find survivors. A storm was triggered around 10 p.m. local in the night from Thursday to Friday, carrying heavy rains, without the search being interrupted. A fire also had to be brought under control on the north side of the building. Heavy precipitation continued to fall on the site of the collapse on Friday, which smelled of burnt rubber and plastic.
Among the missing persons are nine Argentines, three Uruguayans and six Paraguayans, including the sister of the First Lady of Paraguay. Canadian authorities announced on Friday that“At least four Canadians could be affected” by collapse. The city is also home to a large Jewish community and rabbis have been mobilized to provide support to evacuated Jewish residents and their families.
The need for explanations on the causes of this disaster is growing. The victims “Have the right to know” why the twelve-story building collapsed, turning into a death trap for their loved ones, insisted the governor of this southern state of the United States, Ron DeSantis. “We do not want to be mistaken in the explanation, but it is also important to bring it without delay because there are many families (…) who have lost loved ones”, he said.
“It’s a very, very difficult moment. There are so many people waiting, are they alive, what’s going to happen? “, whispered Joe Biden from the White House. The Democratic president had earlier in the day declared a state of emergency in order to provide federal assistance for emergency relief operations and resettlement of survivors.
“Major structural damage”
The collapse of the twelve floors of this complex overlooking the ocean, which affected around 55 apartments, took place around 1:30 a.m. (7:30 a.m. in Paris) on Thursday, releasing, according to witnesses, a large cloud of dust. on several blocks. The investigation to determine the exact causes of this disaster may take weeks, warned Atorod Azizinamini, an expert specialist in infrastructure.
In the meantime, the hypotheses are multiplying to try to explain the drama. Work to bring the building up to standard was underway, especially on the roof, said several officials, nevertheless considering it unlikely that they were the cause of the collapse.
According to The New York Times, the building managers had been alerted by a consultant in 2018 to “Major structural damage”. A report produced by an engineer had provided “Alarming evidence” from ” damage ” at the level of the concrete slab under the pool terrace, cracks and crumbling “Abundant” columns, beams and garage walls under the building.
Without mentioning the risk of collapse, the consultant had specified that repairs were necessary to “Maintain structural integrity” of the building. This report, still according to The New York Times, had contributed to the development of a multi-million dollar renovation project to be launched shortly.