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102 people safe, 99 missing in Florida building collapse

Officials in Surfside, Florida, were able to declare 102 people as safe on Thursday night (June 23) following the predawn collapse of an oceanfront apartment tower, saying 99 others were still not accounted for.

Rescue crews near Miami searched through tons of rubble for anyone who may have survived the collapse as officials report at least one person found dead.

Search teams detected sounds of banging and other noises but no voices coming from the mounds of debris hours after a large section of the Champlain Towers South condominium in Surfside, a barrier island town across Biscayne Bay from the city of Miami, crumbled to the ground, authorities said.

“As the sun sets on the most tragic day this community can remember, we stand in solidarity once again to tell you we are working around the clock to search and rescue people in this rubble,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told reporters during a Thursday evening news conference. 

What caused the 40-year-old high-rise to collapse was not immediately known, though local officials said the tower was undergoing “recertification” repairs and that an adjacent building was under construction.

Two of Florida’s leading lawmakers were at the Thursday night news conference. Democratic Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Republican Senator Marco Rubio, a former presidential candidate, said federal government resources were going to be made available in the rescue and recovery. 

(Production: Ashraf Fahim / Mana Rabiee)

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