SURFSIDE, Fla. — Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis on Thursday toured the damage following a partial condo building collapse in Surfside that left at least one person dead, calling it "really traumatic."
"The TV doesn't do it justice. It is really, really traumatic to see the collapse of a massive structure like that," DeSantis said. "We still have hope to be able to identify additional survivors."
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Officials said at least one person died and 102 people are accounted for following the tragic incident at the Champlain Towers South condominium building, located at 8777 Collins Avenue.
At least 11 people were injured and four of them were taken to the hospital.
DeSantis thanked emergency crews for responding to the scene so quickly, and for their painstaking efforts to search for survivors underneath the rubble. At least 99 people are unaccounted for, officials said.
"They are doing everything they can to save lives," DeSantis said. "That is ongoing, and they're not gonna rest."
Florida's State Emergency Response Team, including the State Fire Marshal, Florida Department of Law Enforcement, Florida Department of Transportation, and Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, is assisting with the rescue efforts.
Following Thursday's news conference, DeSantis visited a family reunification center at the Surfside Community Center, located at 9301 Collins Avenue.
"We are happy to report that through the help of the Red Cross, we have short-term hotels set up for these folks," DeSantis said. "We're gonna work with the city, the county, the state to make sure that there's any longer-term needs that we can be helpful in any way that we can."
Earlier on Thursday, the governor spoke at Hillsborough Community College in Tampa, saying state emergency response units have been dispatched to the scene.
"It's a really, really tragic situation," DeSantis said. "We'll hope for the best in terms of additional recoveries, but we are bracing for some bad news just given the destruction that we're seeing."
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According to DeSantis, the building was more than 80% occupied at the time of the collapse.
"The first responders were able to save a lot of people. They are gonna be going through more," DeSantis said while in Tampa. "But I do think the quick response was very important, and I do think it saved lives."
The governor said he's met with the mayors of Miami-Dade County, Surfside, and Bal Harbour.
"We'll be helping out in any way that we can," DeSantis said. "We're hoping for additional rescues, but we're also bracing for some potentially terrible news because it was a real catastrophe."
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Earlier on Thursday, DeSantis expressed his condolences on Twitter, thanking first responders and saying a family reunification center has been set up at the Surfside Community Center.
"If you have loved ones who are unaccounted for or are safe, please call 305-614-1819 to account for them," DeSantis tweeted.
A family reunification center is set up at 9301 Collins Avenue. If you have loved ones who are unaccounted for or are safe, please call 305-614-1819 to account for them.— Ron DeSantis (@GovRonDeSantis) June 24, 2021