Friday, May 27

Firefighters hear sounds under the rubble of the Miami building, with 159 missing


Correspondent in New York

Updated:

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A team of 130 firefighters have spent the last night searching for survivors of the collapse of a building of apartments in Surfside, north of Miami Beach (Florida). The 12-story block collapsed at 1:30 a.m. on Thursday, and almost a day and a half later, the situation is not promising.

Authorities raised the number of confirmed deaths to four and that of missing up to 159. It is not clear if they are neighbors who are under the rubble or who were not in the building that night and have not yet been located.

As the hours pass, the chance of many survivors decreases and the death count it could be very long, in the middle of a tortuous work of debris and rescue.

“Every time we hear a sound we focus on that area”

The only hope is that the rescue teams have heard sounds among the remains of the building, a block of 136 apartments of which 55 collapsed completely.

We are hearing sounds. They are not, specifically, human sounds. They are not necessarily blows, it could be steel or some kind of debris rain ”said the chief of the fire department of the county of Miami-Dade, Ray Jadallah. However, they cling to the possibility that the sounds are coming from survivors. “We remain hopeful and every time we hear a sound we focus on that area.”

Causes of the collapse

The causes of the collapse of the building are still unknown. A neighbor of the neighborhood, Vicky Mayer, assured ABC that in recent days they had seen works in the property: “There were workers introducing tar into the building,” he says. The authorities confirmed that there were works on the roof, but other structural repairs were also planned. The lawyer representing the building’s neighborhood association, Kenneth Direktor, assured ‘The New York Times’ that there were considerable works planned to deal with damage to concrete and rusty metals. The building, built in 1981, had to go through a certification process required every 40 years by local legislation this year.

“There were workers introducing tar into the building”

Direktor told the New York newspaper that there were no signs For now, the collapse had to do with these problems, which are common due to the corrosion faced by buildings that, like this one, are in front of the sea.

Emergency declaration

Mayer’s family, like many neighbors, woke up to the shaking and din of the landslide. In a few seconds, according to what could be seen in videos recorded by security cameras, athe entire building collapsed. It was at a time when most of the neighbors present would be sleeping. In a few minutes, everything was a mass of cement, iron, plaster, pipes and furniture, which could hide many victims.

“I say to the people of Florida: all the help you need, the federal government can provide it”

Among them, many South Americans, in an area of ​​the coast of Florida turned into a magnet for professionals from all over the continent. According to the information provided by the consular services, there are nine disappeared from Argentina, six from Venezuela, six from Colombia, three from Uruguay and six from Paraguay, including the sister, brother-in-law and three nephews of the first lady of the country, Silvana López-Moreira. López-Moreira arrived in Florida on Thursday after hearing the news of the collapse. There is also a missing Chilean citizen, a cousin of the Former President Michelle Bachelet.

The president of the USA, Joe Biden, approved an emergency declaration for the disaster that allows sending federal funds for assistance. He is expected to give a speech on the tragedy this Friday. “I tell the people of Florida: all the help you need, the federal government can provide,” he said after approving the declaration.

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