Authorities continue to search for survivors after a 12-story condo building partially collapsed near Miami Beach early Thursday (June 24) morning. As of 3 p.m. ET, officials said 102 people have been accounted for, and 99 people were still missing, up from 51 earlier in the day. One person has been confirmed dead, and 37 people have been pulled from the rubble. At least 11 people received treatment for their injuries, and four people were transported to the hospital.
"I am a person of hope... I'm going to be optimistic that the possibility remains that as they continue to search part of the recovery will be survivors," Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman told Fox News.
The collapse sent a cloud of dust and debris raining down throughout the neighborhood, covering cars several blocks away in a layer of dust.
More than 80 rescue crews are at the scene digging through the rubble in an effort that could last at least a week. Rescuers have heard banging and are using sonar equipment to search for any survivors.
"I mean, it could be weeks until we really know who is under the rubble, who survived, who didn't survive. There's a lot of people unaccounted for, lots of families very concerned," Surfside Commissioner Eliana Salzhauer said.
At one point, rescue efforts were paused due to a severe storm with high winds and dangerous lightning.
Officials have not said what caused the collapse. Structural engineers will be sent to investigate the scene once the search and rescue operation has concluded.
He said that the roof of the building was undergoing construction but did not say if that had anything to do with the collapse.
"I mean, it looks like a bomb went off, but we're pretty sure a bomb didn't go off," Burkett said.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis praised the first responders who rushed into the building to look for survivors.
“They were on that scene before we knew whether there would be more collapse. We didn’t know whether the building had any structural integrity and they were shepherding people to safety and they absolutely saved people’s lives,” he said. “We really appreciate all that they have done and they are continuing to do.”
The Red Cross has helped set up short-term hotel rooms for people who were displaced by the collapse. The building housed 136 units and 55 were destroyed. It is unclear how many people were living in the building.