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Fifty-one people are missing after the partial collapse of a 12-story building in Surfside, Miami Beach, a county source told local CBS News on Thursday.
The channel indicated that, according to its source, those people have not appeared more than ten hours after the collapse of the Champlain Towers building, located in Surfside, in the north of Miami Beach.
So far only one person has been officially confirmed dead, who was pulled from the rubble.
Ten people were treated at the scene, two were transported to hospitals and 35 were rescued from the balconies of the building, according to official sources.
Sources from the Argentine Foreign Ministry confirmed that four Argentines are missing after the collapse, according to people who knew they were in the building but have not been able to contact them.
Rescue teams are working in the rain in search of people trapped in the rubble of the building, which partially collapsed in the middle of the night while its occupants were sleeping, for reasons yet to be determined.
In just seconds 55 units of the Champlain Towers building, located in the mostly Jewish town of Surfside, collapsed like “pancakes,” in the words of Surfside Mayor Charles Burckett.
So far authorities have confirmed only one death, but Burckett said more people are feared dead and under the rubble.
The search effort is being led by Miami-Dade County firefighters and is being hampered by rain.
The great fear is the possibility of the building collapsing completely while those efforts are underway.
“Many thanks to our brave and courageous fireworkers,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella ava Levine.
“The problem is the building has literally pancaked. It has gone down. And I mean, there’s just feet in between stories where there were 10 feet. (3 meters),” Burkett said.
“That is heartbreaking, because it doesn’t mean to me that we’re going to be successful, as successful as we would want to be to find people alive,” the mayor stressed.
Earlier in the morning, local television stations showed images of firefighters pulling a minor from the rubble, apparently unharmed.
Parts of mattresses, headboards and other furniture were also see nsticking out of the pile of rubble.