Demolition crews set off explosives late Sunday to bring down the damaged remaining portion of a collapsed South Florida condo building, a key step to resuming the search for victims as rescuers possibly gain access to new areas of the rubble.
A loud rat-at-tat of explosions echoed from the structure just before 10:30 p.m. Then the building began to fall, one floor after another, cascading into an explosion of dust. Plumes billowed into the air, as crowds watched the scene from afar.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told the Associated Press after the demolition that it went “exactly as planned.” She said the rescue crews had already been given the all-clear to begin work on the mound again.
“It was picture perfect. Exactly what we were told would happen,” she said.
Crews were to begin clearing some of the new debris so rescuers could start making their way into parts of the underground garage that is of particular interest. Once there, they were hoping to get a clearer picture of voids that may exist in the rubble and could possibly harbour survivors.
“At this precise moment I feel relief. I feel relief because this building was unstable. The building was hampering our search efforts,” Levine Cava said.