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Beachfront condo building near Miami partially collapses, at least one dead, 100 now missing

The mayor of Surfside confirmed there was at least one casualty from the collapse.

Updated: June 24, 2021 - 4:29pm

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A multistory apartment complex partially collapsed early Thursday in the South Florida town of Surfside, near Miami.

Mayor Charles W. Burkett confirmed to CNN that there is at least one fatality. Reports by late-Thursday afternoon said roughly 100 people were still missing, up from about 50 at mid-morning.

"This is a horrific catastrophe," Burkett said. "In the United States, buildings just don’t fall down."

The mayor told reporters that the building was undergoing roof work but didn’t say whether that contributed to the collapse.

Burkett warned that the death toll could rise, telling reporters that the building manager said the 12-story beachfront condo was quite full at the time of the collapse at around 1:30 a.m. Thursday.

"The building is literally pancaked," Burkett said, according to the Associated Press. "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."

About half of the building’s roughly 130 units were affected. 

Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said that so far, 35 people have been pulled from the wreckage.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said during a press conference Thursday afternoon that state and local authorities are helping those who have been displaced due to the collapse have a place to go. DeSantis noted hotel rooms were being set up for those displaced.

"It's really traumatic to see the collapse of a massive structure like that," DeSantis said before commenting that "the TV doesn't do it justice."

Daniella Levine Cava, the mayor of Miami-Dade County, said during the same press conference that they had evacuated two side buildings of the complex.

More than 80 rescue units responded, though authorities still do not know what caused the accident. At least nine people were taken to a nearby hospital, and rescue crews are still searching the rubble of the apartment complex.