A massive rescue operation is underway after an apartment building close to Miami Beach collapsed in the early hours of this morning.
The ocean-front building, a twelve-story apartment complex called Champlain Towers South, has partially collapsed, fire rescue services have confirmed.
Neighbours say the building was mostly occupied but it is not known what caused the tower which was built in 1981 near 88th street and Collins Avenue in Surfside, Florida, to collapse.
There are fears that many people may be dead or remain trapped beneath the rubble at Champlain Towers South as a search-and-rescue operation by local authorities got underway.
One witness, who was staying in the south Florida island city with his family, was in a neighbouring building at the time and said the collapse sounded and felt like a tornado or earthquake, Fox News reported.
The witness claimed that much of the building was occupied at the time of the collapse, which he estimated to have occurred at around 1.20am.
He told the publication: ‘It was the craziest thing I ever heard in my life.’
Shocking video footage showed a boy being pulled from the wreckage by firefighters as the huge search-and-rescue operation continued, according to NBC6.