Two people died in the collapsed section of a parking garage at Miami Dade College's west campus in Doral, and another person remained trapped after being located, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said Wednesday.
Authorities said one other person was still missing. Donovan Budhoo was holding out hope for his 53-year-old brother Robert, who he believed was somewhere beneath the rubble.
“He was missing, but I’m figuring he’s trapped under there because he was working there,” he said.
Search and rescue dogs were trying to find the missing worker Wednesday night.
Meanwhile, the person authorities had found was pinned inside a vehicle, receiving oxygen, had an IV inserted into his body and was being treated by a physician and a paramedic. Workers were using a crane to try to free him.
"The way he's pinned, we are unable to determine the full extent of his injuries," Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Lt. Arnold Piedrahita Jr. said.
He said the trapped worker is "not in a good predicament. But he's talking."
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Capt. Louie Fernandez said earlier that the rescue would be "a long, tedious effort."
Tons of debris would have to be removed from around the trapped victim.
"The person cannot be moved. We literally have to lift and remove tons of debris around him," Fernandez said.
Another person who had been trapped earlier was rescued.
Nine people were injured in the collapse. Authorities said one injured person was airlifted to Jackson Memorial Hospital, four people were taken to Kendall Regional Medical Center, two went to the hospital on their own power, and one was treated at the scene and released.
About 96 rescue units and 300 fire rescue personnel were on the scene.
“We’ve brought out everything for this. This is vital for us to reach that last victim as quickly as possible, to take him out (of) there," Fernandez said.
A portion of the five-story parking garage gave way around 11:40 a.m. in what authorities call a "pancake-style collapse." The garage is located at 3800 NW 115th Avenue.
"It was a floor upon floor, collapsing all the way down to the ground floor," Fernandez said.
Police said it appeared as if the garage was occupied by construction workers only.
No students were in danger, said college spokesman Juan Mendieta. He added that it was a garage under construction. The college will be closed for the rest of the week.
"One of the big needs of this campus was parking. Around noon today that parking structure unexpectedly collapsed inuring several workers. Fortunately for the college community, there were no students, no employees were injured. In fact we immediately evacuated the building," Mendieta said.
William P. Byrne, president and chief executive officer of the garage contractor, Ajax Building Corp. said in a statement that an internal review was being launched to determine the cause.
"While we do not yet know the cause of this tragic collapse, we are committed to working actively and cooperatively with our design and construction partners and local, state and federal authorities to determine the exact cause of this accident," the statement said.
The statement also said safety was a priority for the company.
"Safety on the job site is the overarching priority of Ajax all through the company’s 54-year history. Even as we work to determine the cause of this accident, we are committed to embracing any additional protocols, policies and procedures that will enhance and ensure the continued priority of safety," the statement said.
One construction worker told NBC 6 that he was on the top floor during the collapse, and he started running. He described the floors as pancakes stacked on top of each other.
The debris was about 20 feet high and a crane and heavy truck were inside the work area when the garage collapsed. Street around the garage were completely blocked off.
Aerial footage showed firefighters escorting a man, who appeared to be a construction worker, out of the garage. While firefighters apparently searched through the debris.
Victoria Buczynski of Miami said she saw the collapse while she was working at Gurkha Cigars directly across the street from the construction site.
"It fell to the ground like a house of cards," Buczynski said. "The construction workers started running out, screaming. It was loud. Our entire building shook."
The identity of the people who died were not immediately released.
"I was in the middle of my warehouse and I had my headphones on and everything, and then I just heard like a really loud, like a domino effect kind of falling kind of noise," said Chris Morel, who works across the street.
"The building started shaking really hard and after we heard alarms and everyone crazy," said Luis Arvelo, a student.
The construction of the 1,855-space garage was nearly complete. Ground was broken on the $22.5 million project in February, and it was to be finished in December, according to the website of the contractor, Ajax Building Corp.
The first floor was to have classroom and office space. The structure is nestled closely near to other buildings at the college, which serves about 8,000 students and is one of several campuses in the Miami-Dade College system. This campus opened in 2006.
The rescue operation was set to continue through the night as Wednesday ended. Piedrahita called the effort to remove the man trapped inside the vehicle "a very tedious, intricate, delicate operation."
"You don't want to shift debris, further entrapping the victim or potentially causing a secondary collapse," he said.