- A 2020 study showed that the land around the collapsed Florida condo showed signs of sinking.
- FIU professor Shimon Wdowinski said that the ground movement alone is not likely to be the cause of the accident.
- At least 99 people are still unaccounted for, authorities said.
- Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Land around the Florida condominium that collapsed early Thursday morning in Surfside, Florida, showed signs of sinking in the 90s, according to a 2020 study.
The study, published in the journal Ocean and Coastal Management and conducted by Florida International University professor Shimon Wdowinski, identified the Champlain Towers South building as an area showing signs of land subsidence – when land settles or sinks.
Wdowinski told FIU News that while the research shows that the ground around the building had moved, it wouldn’t be the sole cause of the collapse.
“When we measure subsidence or when we see movement of the buildings, it’s worth checking why it happens,” Wdowinski said. “We cannot say what is the reason for that from the satellite images but we can say there was movement here.”
Wdowinski found that land that was subsiding was more likely to experience more serious effects of sea-level rise due to the climate crisis.
The Champlain Towers South condominium, located at 8777 Collins Ave., was constructed in 1981 out of reinforced concrete. The building passed a roof inspection one day prior to its collapse, Vice Mayor of Surfside Tina Paul confirmed to Insider.
At least 99 people who lived in the condominium are still unaccounted for, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levina Cava.
Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett said in a press conference Thursday morning that the building collapsed in a way that makes it even more difficult for rescue workers to locate survivors.
“The problem is the building has literally pancaked,” Burkett said. “It’s heartbreaking because it doesn’t mean, to me, that we’re going to be successful, as successful as we want to be, to find people alive.”
Additional reporting by Natalie Musumeci