Last Thursday, a twelve-story beachfront condominium tower in Miami suddenly collapsed with no warning. There are currently 9 people dead with 150 people missing. The death toll is tragically expected to rise.
Teams have been working solidly since the building collapsed and have now been joined by rescue workers from Israel and Mexico.
And now, camera footage from inside the Miami Champlain Towers South building has captured the moment the building collapsed. The clip was shared by a resident of the tower, who fortunately wasn’t home at the time.
“I am a resident of one of the condos on the side of the collapse,” Rosie Santana explained on Twitter, “This is a video from my camera footage inside from the start of the collapse until the loss of connection (I was away from the building today). Towards the end, you hear the structure failing.”
The frightening thirteen-second clip shows debris raining from the roof as the empty apartment shudders. An ominous groaning can be heard right before the connection cuts out and everything goes black.
It is still unknown as to why the twelve-story beachfront condominium tower suddenly crumbled, nor will we know for certain for a long time as investigators cannot enter the site until the dangerous and desperate rescue effort concludes. The building’s location was 8777 Collins Avenue, near the city of Surfside, north of Miami Beach city limits.
As the building has stood since 1980, it was due to its standard forty-year review. It was undergoing its “recertification” process and required repairs, officials said. The 2018 engineer’s report into the building flagged “major structural damage” to the concrete platform beneath the swimming pool deck. It also referred to “abundant cracking… of columns, beams and walls” in the garage. The report didn’t suggest the 40-year-old building was at any imminent risk of collapse but its author, engineer Frank Morabito urged that the urged that repairs needed to be carried out in “a timely fashion.”
Experts who studied the area where the building stood said the land it was built on was sinking during the 1990s. The study from a researcher at Florida International University found that the area around the building, constructed on reclaimed wetlands, had been sinking at a rate of two millimeters per year for the last three decades. However, the author of the study said land subsidence alone was not likely to cause a building to collapse.
The building itself collapsed in less than twenty seconds with onlookers comparing it to the September 11 attacks on the Twin Towers in New York. The building contained 136 apartments and fifty-five of them collapsed, leaving piles of debris. The collapse happened while many of the occupants were still sleeping.
Barry Cohen, who has lived in the building for 3 years, was in his apartment when the collapse happened. He told CNN that he and his wife gathered some belongings and rushed out of their front door, but when they looked down the hallway “nothing was there”.
“It was just a pile of dust and rubble and paint falling from the ceilings,” he said.
Miami-Dade fire chief Raide Jadallah said rescue teams were using sonar and search cameras as well as specially trained dogs, but it was a “slow and methodical” process as risk comes with shifting rubble.
“The back of the building, probably a third or more, is totally pancaked,” Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett told a news conference.
Rest in Peace to all those who lost their lives in this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to those who are still missing.