Florida condo collapse: Toll rises to 22; nearby building evacuated
Two more people were found dead in the debris of a partially collapsed condominium building in Florida on Friday, taking the death toll to 22, officials said. This rise in deaths came as Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava news agency AFP on Friday that she signed an order which authorised the demolition of the portion of the building which is still standing.
“We’re still evaluating all possible impacts and determining the best timeline to actually begin the demolition,” Cava said, adding the top priority is search and rescue and the building poses a threat to public health and safety.
The number of people missing in the June 24 tragedy in South Florida fell from 145 to 126, after duplicate names were striked off and some residents, which were earlier reported missing, were found to be safe. Cava added the figures of missing are expected to keep changing as detectives are constantly reviewing the list and verifying reports.
Officials, meanwhile, said detectives have been working round the clock to contact the relatives and acquaintances of the missing residents. However, not a single person has been rescued since the first hours after the condominium building collapsed.
Miami-Dade assistant fire chief Raide Jadallah told AP on Friday that only a woman’s voice had been heard during the entire search. “Most of the victims have been deceased in their bedroom indicating they were asleep,” Jadallah said.
Amid the possible arrival of Hurricane Elsa, which will bring strong winds to Florida, Jadallah said the rescue operations might be suspended. “We will try to go as long as we can, but you can see from different periods of inclement weather we’ve had, we have stopped,” he said. According to the National Weather Service, the storm could approach Florida as early as Monday.
Meanwhile, authorities started evacuating residents of nearby condominium building on Friday in the wake of the June 24 mishap. The city of North Miami Beach said in an official statement the 156-unit Crestview Towers had been deemed structurally and electrically unsafe months ago.
“In an abundance of caution, the City ordered the building closed immediately and the residents evacuated for their protection, while a full structural assessment is conducted and next steps are determined,” city manager Arthur H Sorey III said in the statement.
(With agency inputs)
Police in Nigeria have discovered the severed head of a state legislator who went missing last week in the southeastern state of Anambra, where the government accuses separatists of carrying out a spate of killings and kidnappings, police said on Sunday. The southeast, homeland of the Igbo ethnic group, is agitating to secede from the rest of Nigeria and the banned Indigenous People of Biafra group has been leading those calls.
A Canadian Pacific Railway freight train carrying potash derailed east of Fort Macleod in southern Alberta on Sunday morning, the company said. There were no injuries reported and there are no public safety concerns, CP Rail said. The cause of the derailment in the western Canadian province is under investigation, the company said. "CP personnel have responded to the scene and recovery operations are under way," the company said in a statement.
Ukraine's parliament on Sunday banned the symbols "Z" and "V", used by Russia's military to promote its war in Ukraine but agreed to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's call to allow their use for educational or historic purposes. An opposition member, Yaroslav Zheleznyak, announced the decision on the Telegram messaging app, saying 313 deputies had voted in favour in the 423-member Verkhovna Rada assembly.
President Joe Biden arrived in Japan on Sunday to launch a plan for greater U.S. economic engagement with the Indo-Pacific, facing criticism even before the programme is announced that it will offer scant benefit to countries in the region. On the second leg of his first Asia trip as president, Biden is to meet with leaders of Japan, India and Australia, the Quad, another cornerstone of his strategy to push back against China's expanding influence.
Aerospace firm SpaceX is looking to raise $1.7 billion in fresh funding, a massive initiative as its controversial founder Elon Musk continues to make news, television channel CNBC reported Sunday. Citing a company-wide email the network said it obtained, CNBC reported the space travel pioneer would be paying $70 a share -- 25 percent above the $56 a share the stock traded for in February after a stock split.