At least three people are dead and as many as 99 are unaccounted for after a 12-story residential building partially collapsed early on Thursday in Miami-Dade County, Florida.

The collapse of the Champlain Towers South condominium in the small, beachside town of Surfside, about 6 miles north of Miami Beach, was reported around 1:30 a.m. A massive search and rescue operation was launched before dawn and crews are still carefully combing through the wreckage and remaining structure in hopes of finding survivors.

As of press time, crews have rescued 35 people who were trapped in the building and two others from beneath the rubble, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Chief Raide Jadallah. Officials said 102 people have been accounted for. Miami-Dade county officials say it’s been difficult determining how many people were in that section of the complex partly because there isn’t an on-scene management company that keeps track. The condominium is a mix of full-time residents, seasonal residents, renters and short-term visitors, so authorities have been relying largely on neighbors and word of mouth. The oceanfront condominium has 136 units, and approximately 55 of them collapsed along the northeast corridor.

Editorial credit: richard pross /

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