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Australians feared trapped in Miami apartment building rubble

A number of Australians are believed missing after the collapse of a Florida residential tower.

Rescue crews are combing through rubble for anyone who may have survived the pre-dawn collapse of part of an oceanfront residential tower, with officials reporting at least one person found dead and nearly 100 more missing.

A fire official said 35 people were rescued from the building in Surfside, a seaside enclave of 5700 residents on a barrier island across Biscayne Bay from the city of Miami, including two who were pulled from the rubble as response teams used trained dogs and drones in the search for survivors.

An entire side of the 12-storey building gave way and fell to the ground around 1.30am on Thursday.

The building was home to a mix of people including families and part-time “snowbird” residents who spend the winter months in Florida.

A portion of the 12-storey Champlain Towers South condo building after it partially collapsed.

A portion of the 12-storey Champlain Towers South condo building after it partially collapsed.


Danny Rivero, a reporter from National Public Radio in South Florida, tweeted on Friday: “We’ve been told many Argentinians and Australians were in the building as well, and that all are unaccounted for. This is an international disaster.”

Another NPR reporter, Veronica Soledad Zaragovia, said she had interviewed a Surfside resident, Joseph Waks.

“(He) has friends from Australia who were staying in the collapsed building,” she tweeted.

“Just saw him seven hours later at the Surfside Community Center. Asked if his friends from Australia appeared. They’re still missing.”

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said it is aware that Australians may have been affected and is monitoring the situation.

“DFAT is aware of media reporting that Australians may have been involved in the collapse of the Champlain Tower South Condominium in Surfside, Florida,” a spokesperson said. 

“The Australian Embassy in Washington is closely monitoring developments and making urgent enquiries to determine if any Australians were affected.”

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