Part of a 12-story condo building, Champlain Towers South, collapsed in Surfside, Florida early Thursday morning. While over 100 people have been accounted for, 159 remain missing a day later. The fatality count has risen to four, according to NPR.
Authorities are not giving up, however. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava highlighted the fluidity of these numbers in a press release.
"We will continue search and rescue because we still have hope that we will find people alive," Levine Cava stated. "That is why we are using our dogs and our sonar and our cameras — everything possible to seek places where there may still be people to be found."
Built in 1981, Champlain Towers South collapsed seemingly without warning. The middle of the building collapsed first; one side followed just moments later. About 55 of the building’s 136 condos were affected. The aftermath is a devastating sight: Monstrous piles of rubble litter the ground, and materials hang haphazardly from the structure’s skeleton.
Per CNN, the cause of the partial building collapse has yet to be determined. Levine Cava explained that search-and-rescue operations take priority over investigations into the collapse’s potential causes.
"As we work tirelessly and stand united — local municipal, county, state and now federal support — we are going to work as hard as we can to continue our search-and-rescue effort," Levine Cava said. "That is our priority, that is where we're focused and protecting our first responders who are on the scene."
An emergency reunification hotline has gone live at (305) 614-1819 for those whose loved ones may have been in Champlain Towers South when it collapsed.
In light of this catastrophic event that took place in our South Florida community, we at Grossman Roth Yaffa Cohen offer our sincerest prayers for the families, friends, and community members directly affected at Champlain Towers South.