Fears Aussies among 100 people missing in apartment building collapse

·2-min read

A Miami resident says an elderly Australian couple he knows has not been heard from since the collapse of a residential tower in Florida.

Rescue crews are searching for survivors after an entire side of the 12-storey building gave way. At least one person is dead and about 100 are missing.

Joseph Waks believes an elderly Australian couple he's known for many years was in the building at the time.

He has not heard from them since the collapse and remains at the scene, waiting for news from police.

An emergency worker seen among the rubble of the Champlain Towers South collapse in Florida.
The Champlain Towers South condo in Surfside, Florida, partially collapsed on Thursday afternoon (local time). Source: Sipa USA via AAP

"We're hoping for the best, we're hoping there'll be a miracle," he has told the ABC.

Mr Waks said the couple was originally from Sydney but also lived in Melbourne and spent a lot of time in Miami, where they have family.

"They have been in and out of this community for many, many years," he said.

"It's devastating. They both became grandparents yet again a few hours before the tragedy. We still cannot believe it."

The tower is in the community of Surfside, a community of 5700 residents with a large Jewish presence.

The Australian Jewish Association has been in contact with a committee member who is in Miami, staying near the collapsed building.

There are no reports so far of any Australian Jews being caught up in the disaster, a spokesman for the association told AAP.

The collapsed Surfside tower is pictured with apartments exposed.
It is feared Australians may be among those who remain missing. Source: Sipa USA via AAP

"We've been told many Argentinians and Australians were in the building as well, and that all are unaccounted for," Danny Rivero, a reporter from National Public Radio in South Florida, tweeted on Friday. 

"This is an international disaster."

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has been contacted for comment.

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