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Twelve-story Miami Beach apartment building collapses leaving at least one dead

At least one person is dead and there are fears there could be many more casualties after a 12-story Miami Beach apartment building collapsed in the middle of the night, trapping residents in rubble and twisted metal.  

A huge emergency search and rescue operation is underway after the beachfront condo tower, Champlain Towers South, collapsed at about 1.30am this morning in the Miami neighborhood of Surfside. 

One woman has been confirmed dead and at least eight people were injured. 

Rescue teams are trawling the wreckage for any survivors and have already miraculously pulled a young boy alive from rubble. 

Hundreds of firefighters were seen walking through the rubble, picking up other survivors and carrying them from the wreckage in the early stages of the search operation. 

Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped after witnesses reported hearing screaming from the wreckage as a search-and-rescue operation began. 

‘The building has literally pancaked,’ Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said. 

‘That is heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean to me that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive.’

It is not clear how many people are missing but authorities said the building was ‘substantially full’ when it collapsed.   

The building, which contains about 100 apartments, is located one block away from where Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump currently live.    

A huge emergency search and rescue operation is underway after the beachfront condo tower, Champlain Towers South, collapsed at about 1.30am this morning in the Miami neighborhood of Surfside. One woman has been confirmed dead and at least eight people were injured 

Rescue teams are trawling the wreckage for any survivors and have already miraculously pulled a young boy, who was conscious, from rubble

Rescue teams are trawling the wreckage for any survivors and have already miraculously pulled a young boy, who was conscious, from rubble

Video from the scene showed firefighters pulling a young boy from the rubble. Witnesses also reported hearing screams from beneath the collapsed building

Video from the scene showed firefighters pulling a young boy from the rubble. Witnesses also reported hearing screams from beneath the collapsed building

Video from the scene showed firefighters pulling a young boy from the rubble. Witnesses also reported hearing screams from beneath the collapsed building 

Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped after witnesses reported hearing screaming from the wreckage as a search-and-rescue operation began

Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped after witnesses reported hearing screaming from the wreckage as a search-and-rescue operation began

Authorities have not yet determined what caused the building to collapse but confirmed that renovations had been underway on the roof.

Mayor Burkett said it was unlikely that the roof work had anything to do with the collapse, instead describing it as a ‘catastrophic failure’ of the building. 

‘It’s hard to imagine how this could have happened,’ Burkett said. ‘Buildings just don’t fall down. 

‘There’s no reason for this building to go down like that unless someone literally pulls the supports out from underneath.’ 

Burkett suggested that potential causes could be the result of the foundations being washed out or a sinkhole. 

The Miami-Dade Police have assumed control of the investigation as to why the building collapsed. 

The collapse left a number of units in the still-standing part of the building exposed. 

Bunk beds, tables and chairs could be seen still left inside the damaged apartments. Air conditioner units were hanging from some parts of the building where wires now dangled. 

Photos and video from the scene show the collapse affected half the tower. Piles of rubble and debris surrounded the area just outside the building. 

The debris from the collapse coated cars up to two blocks away with a light layer of dust.    

Bunk beds, tables and chairs could be seen still left inside the damaged apartments. Air conditioner units were hanging from some parts of the building where wires now dangled

Bunk beds, tables and chairs could be seen still left inside the damaged apartments. Air conditioner units were hanging from some parts of the building where wires now dangled

The collapse left a number of units in the still-standing part of the building exposed with furniture visible inside some apartments

The collapse left a number of units in the still-standing part of the building exposed with furniture visible inside some apartments

Authorities have not yet determined what caused the building to collapse but confirmed that renovations had been underway on the roof

Authorities have not yet determined what caused the building to collapse but confirmed that renovations had been underway on the roof

Twelve-story Miami Beach apartment building collapses leaving at least one dead

 

Twelve-story Miami Beach apartment building collapses leaving at least one dead

Pictures and videos from the scene suggest a full section of the tower collapsed (pictured), which left huge piles of debris lying at the corner of Collins Avenue

Pictures and videos from the scene suggest a full section of the tower collapsed (pictured), which left huge piles of debris lying at the corner of Collins Avenue

One woman has died and at least nine people are injured, including a firefighter, following the collapse just before 1.30am, according to local media reports. One person is said to be in critical condition. Pictured: The partially collapsed building

One woman has died and at least nine people are injured, including a firefighter, following the collapse just before 1.30am, according to local media reports. One person is said to be in critical condition. Pictured: The partially collapsed building

Witnesses claim to have heard people screaming beneath the rubble (pictured) during frantic efforts to free them from the wreckage of the building

Authorities have not yet provided any information on potential casualties as the situation is ongoing. Pictured: Rubble following the collapse

Witnesses claim to have heard people screaming beneath the rubble (left and right) during frantic efforts to free them from the wreckage of the building

There have been dozens of people impacted by the collapse (pictured: the partially collapsed building), according to local media, but authorities have not yet confirmed any details of potential casualties

There have been dozens of people impacted by the collapse (pictured: the partially collapsed building), according to local media, but authorities have not yet confirmed any details of potential casualties

Witness Kimberly Morales, who lives across the street, told CNN she was woken up by alarms going off and people pounding on her door, as she didn't hear the building collapse. Pictured: A portion of the condo tower crumbled to the ground

Witness Kimberly Morales, who lives across the street, told CNN she was woken up by alarms going off and people pounding on her door, as she didn’t hear the building collapse. Pictured: A portion of the condo tower crumbled to the ground

Santo Mejil, 50, told the Miami Herald his wife called him from the building, where she was working as an aide for an elderly woman.

‘She said she heard a big explosion. It felt like an earthquake,’ Mejil told the newspaper. He said she later called him and said rescuers were bringing her down. 

One witness, who was staying in the south Florida island city with his family, was in a neighboring building at the time and said the collapse sounded and felt like a tornado or earthquake.

‘It was the craziest thing I ever heard in my life,’ he told Fox News.

Witnesses claimed to have heard people screaming beneath the rubble during frantic efforts to free them from the wreckage of the building. 

One witness told NBC: ‘They are able to rescue some people but I heard some screams.’

When the building initially collapsed, more than 80 rescue units were on the scene, including designated teams skilled in retrieving bodies from wreckages.  

A portion of the 12-story condo tower crumbled to the ground during a partial collapse of the apartment block. It is unknown at this time how many people were injured as search-and-rescue effort continues

A portion of the 12-story condo tower crumbled to the ground during a partial collapse of the apartment block. It is unknown at this time how many people were injured as search-and-rescue effort continues

Southbound traffic is being diverted west on 96th Street and northbound traffic is being diverted at 85th Street and Collins Avenue as authorities continue with the rescue operation (pictured)

Southbound traffic is being diverted west on 96th Street and northbound traffic is being diverted at 85th Street and Collins Avenue as authorities continue with the rescue operation (pictured)

Southbound traffic is being diverted west on 96th Street and northbound traffic is being diverted at 85th Street and Collins Avenue as authorities continue with the rescue operation (right), Miami-Dade Fire Rescue (left) confirmed

Freelance journalist Joel Franco, who was on the scene, claimed that the fire department had managed to rescue some people from their balconies. Pictured: Emergency personnel working at the scene

Freelance journalist Joel Franco, who was on the scene, claimed that the fire department had managed to rescue some people from their balconies. Pictured: Emergency personnel working at the scene

There are fears that many people may be dead or remain trapped beneath the rubble (pictured) at Champlain Towers South following the collapse

There are fears that many people may be dead or remain trapped beneath the rubble (pictured) at Champlain Towers South following the collapse

Southbound traffic is being diverted west on 96th Street and northbound traffic is being diverted at 85th Street and Collins Avenue as authorities remain on the scene, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue confirmed. 

Miami Beach Police Department said: ‘MBPD and @MiamiBeachFire are assisting the Town of Surfside at a partial building collapse located at 8777 Collins Avenue in Surfside, Florida.

‘Multiple police and fire agencies from across Miami-Dade are assisting. Please follow @MiamiDadeFire for updated information.’  

The sea-view condo development was built in 1981 in the southeast corner of Surfside, on the beach. It had a few two-bedroom units currently on the market, with asking prices of $600,000 to $700,000.

The area is a mix of new and old apartments, houses, condominiums and hotels, with restaurants and stores serving an international combination of residents and tourists. 

The community provides a stark contrast from bustle and glitz of South Beach with a slower paced neighborhood feel. 

Shocking pictures and videos (above) show what appears to be huge piles of debris lying at the corner of Collins Avenue as fears

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue confirmed that more than 80 units (pictured), including Technical Rescue Teams, were on the scene

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue confirmed that more than 80 units (right), including Technical Rescue Teams, were at the scene of the collapse (left)

Emergency personnel from multiple fire departments and other agencies (pictured) were seen working at the scene of the partial building collapse in Miami Beach

Emergency personnel from multiple fire departments and other agencies (pictured) were seen working at the scene of the partial building collapse in Miami Beach

Rescue personnel work near where a portion of the 12-story condo tower crumbled to the ground during a partial collapse of the building in Surfside

Rescue personnel work near where a portion of the 12-story condo tower crumbled to the ground during a partial collapse of the building in Surfside

The building, a twelve-story apartment block called Champlain Towers South (pictured), collapsed in the early hours of this morning.

The building, a twelve-story apartment block called Champlain Towers South (pictured), collapsed in the early hours of this morning.

A view inside one of the apartments at Champlain Towers South

A view inside one of the apartments at Champlain Towers South 

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