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Rescuers say ‘tapping’ sounds indicating life after Miami building collapse have ‘dissipated’

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A rescuer working to save survivors of the Miami condo collapse disaster said on Friday that tapping sounds heard on Thursday have ‘dissipated’ – sapping hope for finding the 159 people who are still missing nearly 48 hours after building’s collapse.

Dr. Howard Lieberman, a trauma surgeon with a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue task force, told CNN that rescue crews heard ‘some tapping’ yesterday – or noise indicating that some of the victims may still be alive.

However, he told CNN that the tapping had ‘dissipated’ by Friday night but that crews have not given up hope.

‘I think these guys, you know, that’s their mindset also, they’re just going to keep going, keep going, keep going until, like I said, every stone is turned over and all the rubble is removed,’ Lieberman said.

He added: ‘We’re seeing stuffed animals, teddy bears, boxed of diapers, a child’s bunk bed, and we’re finding a lot of pictures, family pictures.’

‘It’s a little bit more emotional than going somewhere, where you know there’s no one, let’s say for a hurricane where they had enough warning and they had evacuation time and they got out.’

Dr. Howard Lieberman, a trauma surgeon with a Miami-Dade Fire Rescue task force, told CNN that rescue crews heard ‘some tapping’ yesterday that has since dissipated

The tapping sounds, which indicate signs of life in the rubble, had slowed since the collapse on Thursday

The tapping sounds, which indicate signs of life in the rubble, had slowed since the collapse on Thursday

Zulema Perez prays in front of the memorial for victims of a partially collapsed residential building as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors

Zulema Perez prays in front of the memorial for victims of a partially collapsed residential building as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors

A man hangs a photo on a fence of someone missing near the site of an oceanfront condo building that partially collapsed in Surfside

A man hangs a photo on a fence of someone missing near the site of an oceanfront condo building that partially collapsed in Surfside

People hang up more signs of missing residents and light candles from the partial collapse in Surfside where the rescue personnel continue their search for victims nearly 48 hours after the collapse

People hang up more signs of missing residents and light candles from the partial collapse in Surfside where the rescue personnel continue their search for victims nearly 48 hours after the collapse

Isabella Cisternino, Camila Giron-Otano and Isabela Giron-Otano, from left to right, light candles in the sand near where search and rescue operations continue at the site of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building

Isabella Cisternino, Camila Giron-Otano and Isabela Giron-Otano, from left to right, light candles in the sand near where search and rescue operations continue at the site of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building

Miami-Dade Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said: ‘Any time that we hear a sound, we concentrate in that area,’ 

‘It could be just steel twisting, it could be debris raining down, but not specifically sounds of tapping or sounds of a human voice,’ Jadallah said.

Buffeted by gusty winds and pelted by intermittent rain, two heavy cranes removed debris from the pile using large claws Friday, creating a din of crashing glass and metal as they picked up material and dumped it to the side.

Once the machines paused, firefighters wearing protective masks and carrying red buckets climbed atop the pile to remove smaller pieces by hand in hope of finding spots where people might be trapped. In a parking garage, rescuers in knee-deep water used power tools to cut into the building from below.

Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said crews were doing everything possible to save as many people as they could.

‘We do not have a resource problem, we have a luck problem,’ he said.

The search has not yet transitioned to recovery though some family members waiting at a reunification center have given DNA samples in case they are needed to help identify victims, CNN reported.

Miami Dade Mayor Danielle Levine Cava told The New York Times that rescuers were using cameras, dogs and sonar equipment to look for survivors. 

‘They are in the tunnels, they’re in the water, they’re on top of the rubble pile,’ she said. The pile’s instability made the work that much more delicate and dangerous.

She noted that the instability of the rubble pile made rescue efforts dangerous as crews ‘can’t dislodge pieces of debris that could injure them in the process. 

‘They can’t dislodge debris that could possibly make it more difficult to continue the search,’ she had said earlier on Friday.

Experts have said that rescue efforts remain hopeful because people have been known to survive for weeks underneath rubble piles.

Police officers stand guard surrounded by smoke from a partially collapsed building in Surfside, north of Miami Beach

Police officers stand guard surrounded by smoke from a partially collapsed building in Surfside, north of Miami Beach

A man rides a bicycle surrounded by smoke from a partially collapsed building in Surfside, north of Miami Beach

A man rides a bicycle surrounded by smoke from a partially collapsed building in Surfside, north of Miami Beach

A woman stands near a barricade tape near a partially collapsed residential building as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors

A woman stands near a barricade tape near a partially collapsed residential building as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors

Dr. Mike Cirigliano, a doctor of internal medicine in Philadelphia, told WTXF-TV that people can survive in so-called ‘lean-tos’ where a pocket of space within the rubble allows them an oxygen supply.

He said that in some cases survivors can even last on a supply of water as rainwater can seep into lean-tos, according to the outlet. 

A Haitian man survived two weeks underneath a crumbled building after the devastating 2010 earthquake, according to CNN.

At a news conference on Friday night, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Cominsky said there are currently four task force teams working on search and rescue as teams from Mexico and Israel arrived on Friday morning to help with the efforts. 

A rescue worker leads a rescue dog after looking for possible survivors among the debris of a partially collapsed building in Surfside

A rescue worker leads a rescue dog after looking for possible survivors among the debris of a partially collapsed building in Surfside

A dog of the search and rescue personnel search for survivors through the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside

A dog of the search and rescue personnel search for survivors through the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside

Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building

Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team look for possible survivors in the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building

Rescue crew respond at the site after a partial building collapse in Surfside near Miami Beach, Florida

Rescue crew respond at the site after a partial building collapse in Surfside near Miami Beach, Florida

Rescue workers look for possible survivors among the debris of a partially collapsed building in Surfside

Rescue workers look for possible survivors among the debris of a partially collapsed building in Surfside

He did not give an exact number for how many personnel from Mexico and Israel had been sent.

Cominsky said crews will be using heavy equipment such as cranes to help move debris on top of the sonar equipment, dogs and video cameras that they have already been using.

He said at the news conference that the main focus has been on sifting through debris underneath the parking garage.

‘Any glimpse of hopes that we have, any signals that we see that’s where want our primary focus. This is where we’ve been focused with the operation and looking for those voids,’ he said.

Rescue crews have also formed ‘bucket brigades’ to clear debris while using sonar devices to identify any signs of life, CBS News reported.

Miami Dade Fire Rescue posted a warning to residents on Friday night about 'smoky conditions' after the building collapse

Miami Dade Fire Rescue posted a warning to residents on Friday night about ‘smoky conditions’ after the building collapse

Miami Dade Fire Rescue warned residents to stay indoors with windows closed as Miami Beach experiences 'smoky conditions' after the collapse

Miami Dade Fire Rescue warned residents to stay indoors with windows closed as Miami Beach experiences ‘smoky conditions’ after the collapse

Each rescue team has a doctor like Lieberman to accompany them to aid any potential survivors and rescuers if they happen to be injured during their rescue efforts. 

‘They remove a layer at a time. So basically, they are sort of delayering the pile. So they take off one layer at a time. We go in, we search, see if we can find anything. If not, they take off another layer,’ Lieberman told the outlet.

However, Dave Downey – a retired Miami-Dade fire chief – told CBS News that rescuers are ‘essentially looking for needles in a haystack.’ 

‘While this building came down relatively straight, they’re not — victims and survivors are not going to be located in the exact area where the building used to stand,’ he said. 

Mayor Cava said at a news conference on Friday night that rescue efforts will continue through the night as 159 people still remain unaccounted for after the collapse.

‘We’re going to have more resources to pay for this expensive search and rescue and to give us access to more teams for the rescue later, for the clearance of the rubble and for the assistance for the families, as they put their lives back together,’ Cava said.

She added: ‘We’re here, we’ll continue, and please stand by us. Stand by us, as we stand by the families.’

Cava told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that she continues to have hope survivors will be rescued ‘because our first responders tell me they have hope.’

‘They are the ones on the ground. They are in the tunnels, they’re in the water, they’re on top of the rubble pile. They’re helping to sift through using the cameras, the dogs the sonar and they say they have hope,’ she said.

Rescuers hit a complication in efforts on Friday as they worked to extinguish a ‘deeply rooted fire’ under the structure, fire officials said.

Miami Dade Fire Rescue posted a warning to residents on Friday night about ‘smoky conditions’ after the building collapse.

‘If you live near the area of the #SurfsideBuildingCollapse, you may be experiencing smoky conditions, which can affect those with respiratory conditions. Please stay indoors, keep your windows and doors closed, and run your a/c by recirculating the air inside your home,’ the agency tweeted.

Patricia Mazzei, a reporter for The New York Times, tweeted that ‘the smoke tonight was rough’ while Fox News reporter Lauren Blanchard described the air quality as ‘thick’ and said that it ‘burns.’

‘The wind continues to blow it in waves – sometimes it thins out where we are … but then it kicks back up,’ Blanchard tweeted.

According to research from USA Today, the most common and successful methods used to try to locate survivors include acoustic detection and dogs that can sniff out living survivors.

Crews have started to use heavy equipment including cranes to look for survivors

Crews have started to use heavy equipment including cranes to look for survivors

The outlet noted that aerial drones utilizing cameras and other sensors help rescue teams monitor the collapse to find pockets where it’s safe to enter the debris. 

Rescuers will often also use data from smartphones and phone service providers which can show if a missing person was in the area at the time of the disaster.

Even more usefully, search teams can use radar and microwave technology to more accurately pinpoint where survivors may be, according to University of Buffalo professor Joana Gaia.

She described the technology to USA Today as being similar to ‘the technology in cars that beeps when you’re close to hitting something.’

‘Responders are operating on a speed rather than accuracy standpoint,’ Gaia said.

‘They think: ‘If I think a body is there, I don’t care how accurate the signal is. I’m just going to try to go save the person.”

David Proulx, a vice president at defense contractor Teledyne FLIR which specializes in thermal sensing, told USA Today that robotics can be ‘incredibly useful’ in detecting survivors underneath the ground.

‘Once you get into that subterranean realm, ground robotics become incredibly useful. It can safely go where humans can’t,’ Proulx told USA Today.

A crane removes wreckage of a partially collapsed building in Surfside north of Miami Beach, Florida on Friday

A crane removes wreckage of a partially collapsed building in Surfside north of Miami Beach, Florida on Friday

Crews have started to use heavy equipment such as cranes to 'strategically' lift debris in the search for survivors of the collapse

Crews have started to use heavy equipment such as cranes to ‘strategically’ lift debris in the search for survivors of the collapse

The outlet reported that at least one company is shipping a ground robot from California to help with the search.

In a press release on Friday, the Federal Emergency Management Agency announced that federal emergency aid has been made available to the state of Florida to supplement state and local recovery efforts.

The action from President Joe Biden authorized FEMA ‘to coordinate all disaster relief efforts, which have the purpose of alleviating the hardship and suffering caused by the emergency on the local population.’ 

‘Specifically, FEMA is authorized to identify, mobilize, and provide at its discretion, equipment and resources necessary to alleviate the impacts of the emergency,’ the news release reads. 

The agency said that it would provide assistance for debris removal and emergency protective measures under the Individuals and Households Program under the Stafford Act/

Thomas J. McCool has been named as the Federal Coordinating Officer for federal response operations for the affected area

The other areas in Miami where buildings are at risk of collapse: Map from report that predicted 12-story condo collapse reveals water-logged spots 

The research identified four sites along Miami Beach where the ground is sinking. Champlain Towers South, top right, was sinking at the slowest rate

The report that detailed that the Champlain Towers South building was sinking before its horrific collapse on Thursday described other areas in Miami Beach where buildings could be at risk of collapse because of land sinking and coastal flooding. 

The study revealed that in southwest South Beach, there is significant coastal flooding. It also identified other parts of northeast Miami Beach where the ground has sunk. 

The report was done by Shimon Wdowinski, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University. He studied Miami Beach last year and a coastal town in Virginia to see where coastal flooding might have impacted the ground and caused it to sink. 

When Champlain Towers collapsed on Thursday, Wdowinski said it came as no surprise given his research last year. 

It’s unclear if he gave any kind of warning to the building operators last year after he carried out his research. 

It found that the ground beneath the building has been sinking at a rate of 1.9mm every year since the 1990s. 

Another site where the same thing was happening is in the area surrounding Park View Island, near where there is an elementary school. 

That patch of land has been sinking faster than the land beneath Champlain Towers South – at 2.3mm a year.

Further south, there are two sites in the Flamingo/Lummus area of South Beach that Wdowinski’s team identified as also sinking at rates of 2.2mm a year and 2mm a year. They are in a residential and commercial district, just to the east of Star Island, the celebrity enclave. 

He also found that North Bay Village, an island in between Miami Beach and Miami, was sinking.  

In an interview with USA Today on Thursday, Wdowinski said: ‘I looked at it this morning and said ‘Oh my god.’ We did detect that.’  

He maintains that land subsidence would not cause a building to collapse and that something else must have contributed to it.  

The study analyzed data from satellites using the technology Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar, known as InSAR, to compile datasets spanning from 1992–1999. 

The map shows Miami Beach, left, with locations were there high amounts of land subsidence in red compared to coastal flooding in blue

A map of Miami showing where, in context, the flooding and sunken ground is, according to the research.

The map shows Miami Beach, left, with locations were there high amounts of land subsidence (in red) and coastal flooding (in blue). It reveals that there are other areas where the ground has subsided at a faster rate than where the Champlain Tower South collapsed 

The team analyzed four sites where the ground has been sinking. The top one shows the Champlain Towers site and the others are all parts of land where there are apartment buildings, stores and even one near an elementary school. They were all sinking at a faster rate than the Champlain Towers site. The researchers say this alone shouldn't cause buildings to collapse so there's no need for alarm

The team analyzed four sites where the ground has been sinking. The top one shows the Champlain Towers site and the others are all parts of land where there are apartment buildings, stores and even one near an elementary school. They were all sinking at a faster rate than the Champlain Towers site. The researchers say this alone shouldn’t cause buildings to collapse so there’s no need for alarm 

The center portion of the tower was the first to fall with the east section  of the building collapsing moments later

The center portion of the tower was the first to fall with the east section  of the building collapsing moments later

The study found that land sank in locations around Miami Beach at rates between 1 and 3 millimeters per year- mainly in parts of the city built on reclaimed wetlands.

In Norfolk, land subsidence was seen in areas along the shore and inland at similar rates – with some areas showing land sinking at rates up to 8 millimeters per year.

According to the United States Geological Survey, more than 80% of known land subsidence in the U.S. ‘is a consequence of groundwater use and is an often-overlooked environmental consequence’ of land and water-use practices. 

‘Land subsidence is a gradual settling or sudden sinking of the Earth’s surface due to removal or displacement of subsurface earth materials,’ according to the agency.

It can occur at different rates and has even been recorded at rates more than 200 millimeters per year in some places around the globe like Jakarta, Indonesia.

Norfolk and Miami Beach were chosen as the locations for the study because both communities have been subjected to repeated coastal flooding over the past decade, the researchers said in the study. 

In Norfolk, flooding has occurred in multiple locations throughout the city characterized by low elevation.  

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

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

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

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

The results indicate that about 97% of Miami Beach was stable during the observation period but several localized subsiding areas were detected mostly in the western part of the city.

The study noted that most of the subsidence happened at single-family houses that were built on reclaimed wetlands. However, the study also specifically called out the Champlain Towers South condominium.

‘In some locations, as in the eastern part of the city, the detected subsidence is of a 12-story high condominium building,’ the report reads.

However, the study determined that higher subsidence rates up to 3.8 millimeters per year were registered in the artificial islands located west of the city like the Venetian Islands as well as North Bay Village.

Portions of Miami Beach like Mid-Beach and Bayshore as well as La Gorce appeared to show lower levels of subsidence.

‘The rest of the city remained stable,’ the report reads.

Luckily, some of Miami Beach’s tallest buildings, including the 44-floor Green Diamond and Blue Diamond towers, appear to sit in areas with low levels of land subsidence.

The report appears to conclude that the geology of the area, which is made up of a plateau of karst limestone, may contribute to localized subsidence even though no regional subsidence has been recorded in south Florida.

Wdowinski uploaded a video to the Vimeo platform on Thursday explaining the findings of his study and why it had been conducted.

‘For this area of the Atlantic Coast, at the time, there weren’t at the time many observations,’ he said.

He said that the 1 to 3 millimeters per year subsidence is ‘pretty small’ but added ‘when you think about the accumulation over time then it can be a few inches over decades and that was our concern.’

Wdowinski said that InSar has been used to monitor buildings and in many cases where buildings crack and move, they also show subsidence.

‘We’ve seen that in another study that we studied detections of sinkholes in central western Florida, we saw that there were some buildings that moved and when we went to check we saw there were some cracks,’ Wdowinski said.

The researcher said that the InSar technology is commonly used around the world to detect movement of buildings.

‘In most cases, these buildings move and there’s no catastrophic collapse like in the case here in Surfside – which was very unfortunate,’ he said.

Wdowinski said that the western parts of the city where the researchers detected subsidence were in places where the researchers had expected to see the subsidence.

‘There was unusual pocket we saw in surfside which was in the eastern side, known to be a stable part of the city,’ he said.

‘Over there, we didn’t expect to see subsidence, so we didn’t pay too much attention to that. We just recorded it because that’s what the data shows.’

He added: ‘We just reported that because the focus of the study was about land subsidence and not about trying to analyze building damage or anything like that. So it’s a byproduct of our analysis that we saw movement and we didn’t pay that much attention and just recorded it in the paper.’

A Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team sprays water onto the rubble as rescue efforts continue where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed late on Thursday

A Miami-Dade Fire Rescue team sprays water onto the rubble as rescue efforts continue where a wing of a 12-story beachfront condo building collapsed late on Thursday

Wdowinski, who has previously conducted a number of land subsidence studies including one in Mexico City, noted in the video on Thursday that the tragic Mexico City Metro overpass collapse on May 3 that killed 26 people and injured 79 others had happened in an area where he had previously detected land subsidence.

He said that the land subsidence seen in Miami Beach occurs in ‘smaller pockets’ about the size of a house than like that he had detected in Mexico City.

‘In some cases, it can be just that the building is not built properly and it can have cracks because of the problem of the building itself and it still moves – and we can detect it with this technology.’

In Miami Beach, the city is built on a barrier island that has a rockier foundation on the eastern side. The western side was made of wetlands that were reclaimed before houses were built on the reclaimed wetlands – which tends to subside in a process called soil consolidation.

‘In the eastern side of the city where the buildings are built on bedrock, it’s less likely to have movement of the building and the ground beneath the building – which is why we didn’t expect to see any movement,’ he said.

‘The building can move due to the land or can be due to cracks within the buildings and hundreds of buildings have cracks and they move … and it doesn’t mean it will collapse.’

He said there was ‘something from an engineering point of view that caused it to collapse’ and that it could have been from the ground moving or cracks that had formed in the building in the 1990s.

 

 

Rescuers say ‘tapping’ sounds indicating life after Miami building collapse have ‘dissipated’ Source link Rescuers say ‘tapping’ sounds indicating life after Miami building collapse have ‘dissipated’

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