4 confirmed dead, 159 unaccounted for after Surfside condo collapse

Search-and-rescue operations continue
View of Champlain Towers South condo building after partial collapse, June 24, 2021
Posted at 8:22 AM, Jun 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-25 23:33:46-04

SURFSIDE, Fla. — Four people are now confirmed dead and more than 150 people are still unaccounted for after a Surfside condominium building collapsed, Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday morning.

"Unfortunately, this has been a tragic night," she said during a news conference the morning after the collapse.

WATCH: Officials Provide Update on Surfside Condo Collapse

Officials say 4 dead, 159 unaccounted for after Surfside building collapse

She said 120 people have been accounted for, but there are 159 people still missing as rescuers continue to sift through the rubble in hopes of finding survivors.

Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke at an afternoon briefing to share updates on the rescue and recovery efforts.

He said the state has received support from FEMA to provide individual assistance to victims, saying President Joe Biden's administration waived a minimum threshold to assist those affected.

WATCH: Gov. Ron DeSantis speaks from Surfside

Gov. Ron DeSantis discusses search, rescue efforts after Surfside building collapse

"I was able to speak to the FEMA director last night. She's been great, wants to be helpful," DeSantis said. "About an hour ago, I spoke with President Biden, and he reiterated his administration's full support."

The governor applauded members of the public and organizations across the country that are donating money and items to help those affected.

He said that Biden offered any federal resources that Florida may need when investigating the cause of the collapse.

"We need a definitive explanation for how this could have happened, and that's an explanation that needs to be an accurate explanation," DeSantis said.

Families of missing loved ones gathered at the site of what's left of the northeast side of the Champlain South Towers condominiums throughout the day Thursday waiting for any kind of word.

Raide Jadallah, assistant chief of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said 130 firefighters worked throughout the night as search-and-rescue operations continue.

Rescuer walks on rubble after Champlain Towers South condo collapse, June 24, 2021
A rescue worker walks among the rubble where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed, Thursday, June 24, 2021, in Surfside, Fla.

Heavy machinery was being used to lift and move debris.

"We will continue search-and-rescue because we still have hope that we will find people alive," Levine Cava said.

Rescuers discovered three more bodies overnight, but Levine Cava said everyone involved is "totally motivated" to finding survivors.

"This work is being done at extreme risk to those individuals," she said. "Debris is falling on them as they do their work. We have structural engineers on site to assure that they will not be injured, but they are proceeding because they are so motivated."

President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration to provide federal resources, including funding and disaster assistance.

The building partially collapsed early Thursday while many residents were asleep inside their homes. Built in 1981, it was in the midst of its required 40-year recertification process.