Police have opened an investigation into the 12-story Miami apartment building collapse that left one dead and 99 missing - as hundreds of rescue crews continue to scour through tons of rubble and desperate families wait for news of any survivors.
Officially, only one woman has been confirmed dead after the Champlain Towers South beachfront building collapsed at about 1.30am on Thursday in Miami's Surfside neighborhood.
Authorities, however, have warned the death toll could climb sharply given there were 99 people still missing as of Thursday afternoon. It was unclear whether any, or all of them, were inside the building of the collapse.
Horrifying surveillance footage, obtained by WSVN, captured the moment the building collapsed, sending a huge cloud of debris into the air and officials said the level of destruction made it seem like a 'bomb went off'.
Rescue teams are currently entering the rubble in groups of 10 to 12 at a time with dogs and other equipment as they trawl the wreckage for any survivors. Sources told NBC that search a dog had tracked two potential survivors as of Thursday afternoon.
Hundreds of distraught relatives gathered at a family reunification center holding photos of their loved ones as they awaited news.
As the desperate search for survivors continued, police were already probing the cause of the collapse.
Officials said the building, built in 1981, was going through a recertification process and that engineers had been hired to complete electrical and structural repairs.
Experts who had studied the building as recently as last year said the building was unstable and had been sinking since the 1990s.
A huge emergency search and rescue operation is underway after the beachfront condo tower, Champlain Towers South, collapsed at about 1.30am this morning in the Miami neighborhood of Surfside. One woman has been confirmed dead and at least eight people were injured
Hundreds of firefighters were seen walking through the wreckage, picking up other survivors and carrying them away. Authorities fear many more people may be dead or remain trapped under the rubble
Rescue teams rescued 35 people from the damaged building and two people, including the young boy, were pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the search operation
Thirty-five people were rescued from the damaged building including a young boy, who was photographed being pulled from the rubble in the early stages of the rescue operation. Two of those people, including the woman who has since died, were taken to hospital.
Authorities say many more people may be dead or remain trapped under the rubble and warned the recovery efforts could last an entire week.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis had earlier said rescue teams had made contact with some survivors but did not elaborate on where they were located or if they had been rescued.
'Right now, we have the fire rescue. They are in search and rescue mode. They are trying to identify survivors, I know they have made contact with some, and I know they are doing everything they can to save lives,' he said.
DeSantis and other authorities said earlier that they were bracing for bad news in terms of survivors given the level of destruction.
'The building has literally pancaked,' Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said. 'That is heartbreaking because it doesn't mean to me that we are going to be as successful as we wanted to be in finding people alive.'
Authorities say the building was 'substantially full' when it collapsed. Of the building's 136 apartments, 55 were destroyed.
The tower, which is located one block away from where Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump currently live, has a mix of seasonal and year-round residents. Mayor Burkett said the building keeps a log of guests staying but does not keep track of when owners are in residence.
Hundreds of people were gathering at a family reunification center set up nearby as they awaited news on their family and friends.
The president of Paraguay's sister-in-law and her family, as well as a celebrity plastic surgeon from Argentina are among those still missing.
Sophia López Moreira, her husband Luis Pettengill and their three young children are still missing, Paraguay's foreign ministry confirmed.
Moreira is the sister of President Mario Abdo Benítez's wife Silvana. The family owned a condo in the building.
Also missing is a famed Argentinian plastic surgeon, his partner, and their newly-adopted six year-old daughter.
That surgeon - Andres Galfrasconi, 45 - was visiting Miami with his partner Fabian Nunez, 55, and their daughter Sofia, six, to receive their COVID-19 vaccines.
Hundreds of distraught relatives gathered at a family reunification center holding photos of their loved ones as they awaited news
Relatives continuously tried to called their missing loved ones throughout Thursday while others showed off photos of their family and friends in case any one had seen them
Authorities have not yet determined what caused the building to collapse but confirmed that renovations had been underway on the roof in recent weeks. Burkett said it was unlikely that the roof work had anything to do with the collapse, instead describing it as a 'catastrophic failure' of the building.
'It's hard to imagine how this could have