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Twelve-storey Miami Beach apartment building collapses sparking huge search


Twelve-storey Miami Beach apartment building collapses sparking huge search and rescue operation amid fears many people are dead or trapped in rubble

  • An apartment block collapsed in early hours of the morning near 88th street and Collins Avenue, Miami Beach
  • The collapsed building is believed to be a twelve-storey apartment complex called Champlain Towers South
  • Miami-Dade Fire Rescue confirmed that more than 80 units remain on scene as rescue operation is underway
  • There are fears that many people may be dead or remain trapped beneath the rubble at the apartment block

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A rescue operation is underway after an apartment building close to Miami Beach collapsed in the early hours of this morning.

The building, believed to be a twelve-storey apartment block called Champlain Towers South, has partially collapsed, fire rescue services confirmed.

It is not known what caused the building, located near 88th street and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach, Florida, to collapse.

There are fears that many people may be dead or remain trapped beneath the rubble at Champlain Towers South following the collapse.

One witness, who was on staying in the south Florida island city with his family, was in a neighbouring building at the time and said the collapse sounded and felt like a tornado or earthquake, Fox News reported.

He told the publication: ‘It was the craziest thing I ever heard in my life.’ 

A rescue operation is underway after an apartment building near 88th street and Collins Avenue in Miami Beach collapsed (pictured) in the early hours of this morning

The building, believed to be an apartment block called Champlain Towers South (pictured), collapsed in the early hours of this morning. It is not known what caused the collapse

The building, believed to be an apartment block called Champlain Towers South (pictured), collapsed in the early hours of this morning. It is not known what caused the collapse

The witness also claimed that much of the building was occupied at the time of the collapse, which he estimated to have occurred at around 1.20am.  

Shocking pictures and videos show huge piles of debris lying at the corner of Collins Avenue as a huge rescue operation is underway.

Witnesses claim to have heard people screaming beneath the rubble during frantic efforts to free them from the wreckage of the building.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue confirmed that more than 80 units, including Technical Rescue Teams, were on the scene with assistance from other fire departments. 

Journalist Joel Franco, who was on the scene, claimed that the fire department had managed to rescue some people from the partially collapsed condo building.

He tweeted: ‘MDFR [Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department] now rescuing people from the balcony.’

A statement from Miami-Dade Fire Rescue read: ‘We are on scene of a partial building collapse near 88 Street & Collins Avenue. 

Witnesses claim to have heard people screaming beneath the rubble (pictured) during frantic efforts to free them from the wreckage of the building

Authorities have not yet provided any information on potential casualties as the situation is ongoing. Pictured: Rubble following the collapse

Witnesses claim to have heard people screaming beneath the rubble (left and right) during frantic efforts to free them from the wreckage of the building

There are fears that many people may be dead or remain trapped beneath the rubble (pictured) at Champlain Towers South following the collapse

There are fears that many people may be dead or remain trapped beneath the rubble (pictured) at Champlain Towers South following the collapse

Shocking pictures and videos (above) show what appears to be huge piles of debris lying at the corner of Collins Avenue as fears

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue confirmed that more than 80 units (pictured), including Technical Rescue Teams, were on the scene

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue confirmed that more than 80 units (right), including Technical Rescue Teams, were at the scene of the collapse (left)

‘Over 80 MDFR units, including Technical Rescue Teams, are on scene with assistance from municipal fire departments.’ 

Authorities have not yet provided any information on potential casualties as the situation is ongoing. 

Miami Beach Police Department said: ‘MBPD and @MiamiBeachFire are assisting the Town of Surfside at a partial building collapse located at 8777 Collins Avenue in Surfside, Florida.

‘Multiple police and fire agencies from across Miami-Dade are assisting. Please follow @MiamiDadeFire for updated information.’ 

Champlain Towers South, which was built in 1981, is a modern apartment complex comprised of 136 residences spread across 12 floors, according to Miami Real Estate Trends.

MailOnline has contacted Miami-Dade County Police Department and Champlain Towers South for comment.

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