At least one person was killed and as many as 99 were missing as of Thursday after about half of the units in high-rise oceanfront condominium building near Miami Beach collapsed overnight.
Officials said a portion of the Champlain Towers building in Surfside, Florida, collapsed on Thursday afternoon, flames and smoke broke out at the site, television reports said.
According to authorities, a woman was killed and at least 10 others were hurt. Officials said two people, including a young boy, were pulled from the debris and hospitalized. Thirty-five people were evacuated from the building, they added.
Miami-Dade police said as many as 99 people were reported missing, a Miami newspaper reported.
“The rest of the search and rescue efforts has been done by manpower on the outside, search on the barrier quarters, also with drones and with dogs,” Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman said in a television interview. “It has shifted now or started to shift to recovery.”
A family unification center was set up and more than 80 technical and rescue teams were at the scene.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis declared a state of emergency on Thursday evening at the urging of Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava who wrote on Twitter that she had done so at a local level and President Joe Biden who said doing so would allow Federal Emergency Management Agency officials who had begun assessing the situation to provide assistance.
“I say to the people of Florida, whatever help you want that the federal government can provide, we are waiting, just ask us, we’ll be there,” said Biden.