(CNN)Two days after the catastrophic partial collapse of a residential building in South Florida, officials remained focused on the search for the dozens of people believed to be under the mountain of rubble as an expert suggested it may be months before the cause of the disaster is known.

While anxious family members awaited some news — and the search continued through the night — officials urged for a powerful sentiment: Hope. “I am holding out hope because our first responders tell me they have hope,” Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava told CNN. “They are the ones on the ground. They are in the tunnels; they’re in the water; they’re on top of the rubble pile. They’re helping to sift through using the cameras, the dogs, the sonar, and they say they have hope.”An emotional Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Chief Andy Alvarez echoed the sentiment in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “There’s always hope,” he said. “We’re doing everything we can to bring your family member out alive.”This is what we know about those missing in the Miami condo collapseThis is what we know about those missing in the Miami condo collapseThis is what we know about those missing in the Miami condo collapseThe death toll in the partial collapse of the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Florida, climbed to least four Friday after three people were found dead in the wreckage, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Assistant Fire Chief Raide Jadallah said. At least one person was confirmed dead early Thursday. Read MoreThree of the four victims have been identified, according to Dr. Emma Lew, director of the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner Department. One victim died at a hospital. No other information was provided Friday.About 55 of the 136 units at the building a few miles north of Miami Beach collapsed at around 1:30 a.m. Thursday, leaving huge piles of rubble on the ground and materials dangling from what remained of the structure, officials said.Thirty-five people were rescued from standing portions of the building by first responders, Jadallah said Thursday. The number of people unaccounted for rose to at least 159 from 99, Cava said Friday. She added the figure refers to those who may have been within the complex. “So those are people that maybe live there, but we don’t know whether they were there at the time,” Cava said. Officials do not know how many people were in the building at the time of the collapse, Surfside Town Manager Andy Hyatt said.Among the missing are Vishal Patel, his wife Bhavna Patel, their 1-year-old daughter Aishani Patel, and their niece Sarina Patel told CNN, adding that Bhavna Patel is four months pregnant.Sarina Patel told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday that she last spoke to her family on Father’s Day.”I had actually called them to tell them I had just booked a flight to come visit because they’ve been asking me to come see their home and to meet their daughter I haven’t met her due to the pandemic,” Sarina Patel said. They were home at the time the collapse took place, Sarina Patel told Cuomo.”We have tried calling them countless of times and there’s just been no answers, text messages, nothing,” she said. “They haven’t contacted anybody.”Mystery over the cause of the collapseThe cause of the collapse remains unknown, and an expert told CNN that the conclusion could take months.Kobi Karp, an architect and Miami resident, said forensic engineering will be required to determine the cause. “This is an event that we have never had before. You can look at it; you can speculate how it happened. But at the end of the day, it will take us months to figure out,” he explained.He added that a portion of the building collapsing while the other stood is a “mystery.””At the end of the day for this to crash like this is a very unique and special situation,” Karp said. Structural engineer Kit Miyamoto also spoke to CNN on Friday night about possible causes, including that it could be corrosion of the metal inside the column, or settlement or sinking of one area of ground at a different rate than others, or a combination of different factors.”The question is why the column failed?” he said. “A building is actually hard to collapse. There’s a lot of redundancies in the building system. That’s why you don’t see collapses like this.”Miyamoto pointed out that even in places like California where big earthquakes are common, collapses such as this are extremely rare.Pancake collapses: What they are and why they're dangerousPancake collapses: What they are and why they're dangerousPancake collapses: What they are and why they're dangerousSearch efforts continued throughout the night, with crews from Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue working alongside three other state task forces, Miami-Dade Fire Chief Alan Comisky said. International crews from Mexico and Israel arrived on the scene to help on Friday.The Federal Emergency Management Agency said it sent three Urban Search and Rescue teams to assist with the search. Additionally, structural engineers have been shoring up other places — such as areas near a parking garage underneath the rubble — to allow crews to tunnel underneath with light machinery.”We have the best people for the job, and we have the right people for the job. The people who are here are highly skilled and trained,” Cava said. “They continue to believe that there are people that they can reach.”Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team work in the rubble.Members of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team work in the rubble. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiMembers of the South Florida Urban Search and Rescue team work in the rubble.Hide Caption 1 of 34People stand near the partially collapsed residential building in Surfside, as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors, near Miami Beach, Florida, U.S. June 25, 2021.  REUTERS/Maria Alejandra CardonaPeople stand near the partially collapsed residential building in Surfside, as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors, near Miami Beach, Florida, U.S. June 25, 2021.  REUTERS/Maria Alejandra Cardona Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiPeople stand near the partially collapsed residential building in Surfside, as the emergency crews continue search and rescue operations for survivors, near Miami Beach, Florida, U.S. June 25, 2021. REUTERS/Maria Alejandra CardonaHide Caption 2 of 34Candles and a religious statue are placed on the beach near the Champlain Towers South condo building.Candles and a religious statue are placed on the beach near the Champlain Towers South condo building. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiCandles and a religious statue are placed on the beach near the Champlain Towers South condo building.Hide Caption 3 of 34Leo Soto, 25, of Surfside, lights a candle after setting up a memorial site with photos of missing people from the complex. One of the missing people, Nicole Langsfield, is his friend. Leo Soto, 25, of Surfside, lights a candle after setting up a memorial site with photos of missing people from the complex. One of the missing people, Nicole Langsfield, is his friend. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiLeo Soto, 25, of Surfside, lights a candle after setting up a memorial site with photos of missing people from the complex. One of the missing people, Nicole Langsfield, is his friend. Hide Caption 4 of 34Firefighters battle a blaze as rescue workers search debris at the 12-story oceanfront condo.Firefighters battle a blaze as rescue workers search debris at the 12-story oceanfront condo. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiFirefighters battle a blaze as rescue workers search debris at the 12-story oceanfront condo.Hide Caption 5 of 34A group of people pray together on the beach next to the site of the Champlain Towers.A group of people pray together on the beach next to the site of the Champlain Towers. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiA group of people pray together on the beach next to the site of the Champlain Towers.Hide Caption 6 of 34People hug as they wait for news about their relatives at a community center in Surfside on June 25. People hug as they wait for news about their relatives at a community center in Surfside on June 25. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiPeople hug as they wait for news about their relatives at a community center in Surfside on June 25. Hide Caption 7 of 34Rescue personnel search through the building's rubble on June 25.Rescue personnel search through the building's rubble on June 25. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiRescue personnel search through the building’s rubble on June 25.Hide Caption 8 of 34Toby Fried holds up a picture of her missing brother, Chaim Rosenberg, outside the Surfside Community Center on Friday.Toby Fried holds up a picture of her missing brother, Chaim Rosenberg, outside the Surfside Community Center on Friday. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiToby Fried holds up a picture of her missing brother, Chaim Rosenberg, outside the Surfside Community Center on Friday.Hide Caption 9 of 34Rescue workers use a crane to inspect the damage on Friday.Rescue workers use a crane to inspect the damage on Friday. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiRescue workers use a crane to inspect the damage on Friday.Hide Caption 10 of 34Ariana Hevia, center, stands with Sean Wilt near the partially collapsed building on Friday. Hevia's mother, Cassandra Statton, lives in the building.Ariana Hevia, center, stands with Sean Wilt near the partially collapsed building on Friday. Hevia's mother, Cassandra Statton, lives in the building. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiAriana Hevia, center, stands with Sean Wilt near the partially collapsed building on Friday. Hevia’s mother, Cassandra Statton, lives in the building.Hide Caption 11 of 34Rescue workers arrive to the scene with dogs on Friday.Rescue workers arrive to the scene with dogs on Friday. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiRescue workers arrive to the scene with dogs on Friday.Hide Caption 12 of 34People observe the building from the nearby beach.People observe the building from the nearby beach. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiPeople observe the building from the nearby beach.Hide Caption 13 of 34Faydah Bushnaq, center, is hugged by Maria Fernanda Martinez  as they stand on the beach near the building. Bushnaq, who was vacationing in South Florida, stopped to write "pray for their souls" in the sand.Faydah Bushnaq, center, is hugged by Maria Fernanda Martinez  as they stand on the beach near the building. Bushnaq, who was vacationing in South Florida, stopped to write "pray for their souls" in the sand. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiFaydah Bushnaq, center, is hugged by Maria Fernanda Martinez as they stand on the beach near the building. Bushnaq, who was vacationing in South Florida, stopped to write “pray for their souls” in the sand.Hide Caption 14 of 34The arm of an earth mover during the search operations.The arm of an earth mover during the search operations. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiThe arm of an earth mover during the search operations.Hide Caption 15 of 34Rescue personnel work at the site on June 24.Rescue personnel work at the site on June 24. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiRescue personnel work at the site on June 24.Hide Caption 16 of 34Yube Pettingill talks to the media. Two of her family members were still missing.Yube Pettingill talks to the media. Two of her family members were still missing. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiYube Pettingill talks to the media. Two of her family members were still missing.Hide Caption 17 of 34This photo was tweeted by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue after the building collapsed on June 24.This photo was tweeted by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue after the building collapsed on June 24. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiThis photo was tweeted by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue after the building collapsed on June 24.Hide Caption 18 of 34Displaced residents are taken to a nearby hotel in Surfside.Displaced residents are taken to a nearby hotel in Surfside. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiDisplaced residents are taken to a nearby hotel in Surfside.Hide Caption 19 of 34The partial collapse left huge piles of rubble and materials dangling from what remained of the structure.The partial collapse left huge piles of rubble and materials dangling from what remained of the structure. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiThe partial collapse left huge piles of rubble and materials dangling from what remained of the structure.Hide Caption 20 of 34Firefighters use a ladder hose as smoke comes out of the rubble on June 24.Firefighters use a ladder hose as smoke comes out of the rubble on June 24. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiFirefighters use a ladder hose as smoke comes out of the rubble on June 24.Hide Caption 21 of 34Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at center in the red tie, arrives to speak to the media on June 24. "We still have hope to be able to identify additional survivors," DeSantis told reporters near the scene. "The state of Florida, we're offering any assistance that we can."Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at center in the red tie, arrives to speak to the media on June 24. "We still have hope to be able to identify additional survivors," DeSantis told reporters near the scene. "The state of Florida, we're offering any assistance that we can." Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiFlorida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at center in the red tie, arrives to speak to the media on June 24. “We still have hope to be able to identify additional survivors,” DeSantis told reporters near the scene. “The state of Florida, we’re offering any assistance that we can.”Hide Caption 22 of 34Debris dangles from the building on June 24.Debris dangles from the building on June 24. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiDebris dangles from the building on June 24.Hide Caption 23 of 34People hug at a family reunification center where evacuees were staying in Surfside.People hug at a family reunification center where evacuees were staying in Surfside. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiPeople hug at a family reunification center where evacuees were staying in Surfside.Hide Caption 24 of 34The cause of the collapse wasn't immediately known. The building was undergoing roof work, but it's not known whether this was a factor in the collapse, Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett said.The cause of the collapse wasn't immediately known. The building was undergoing roof work, but it's not known whether this was a factor in the collapse, Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett said. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiThe cause of the collapse wasn’t immediately known. The building was undergoing roof work, but it’s not known whether this was a factor in the collapse, Surfside Mayor Charles W. Burkett said.Hide Caption 25 of 34Jennifer Carr sits with her daughter as they and other evacuees wait for news at the family reunification center in Surfside.Jennifer Carr sits with her daughter as they and other evacuees wait for news at the family reunification center in Surfside. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiJennifer Carr sits with her daughter as they and other evacuees wait for news at the family reunification center in Surfside.Hide Caption 26 of 34Rescue personnel search through the rubble with dogs on Thursday.Rescue personnel search through the rubble with dogs on Thursday. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiRescue personnel search through the rubble with dogs on Thursday.Hide Caption 27 of 34Police stand guard near the scene on Thursday.Police stand guard near the scene on Thursday. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiPolice stand guard near the scene on Thursday.Hide Caption 28 of 34People on the beach look at the building after the partial collapse.People on the beach look at the building after the partial collapse. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiPeople on the beach look at the building after the partial collapse.Hide Caption 29 of 34The building was constructed in 1981, according to online Miami-Dade property records.The building was constructed in 1981, according to online Miami-Dade property records. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiThe building was constructed in 1981, according to online Miami-Dade property records.Hide Caption 30 of 34People lie on cots at the family reunification center in Surfside.People lie on cots at the family reunification center in Surfside. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiPeople lie on cots at the family reunification center in Surfside.Hide Caption 31 of 34The beachfront community is a few miles north of Miami Beach.The beachfront community is a few miles north of Miami Beach. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiThe beachfront community is a few miles north of Miami Beach.Hide Caption 32 of 34More than 80 rescue units responded to the scene, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said.More than 80 rescue units responded to the scene, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiMore than 80 rescue units responded to the scene, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said.Hide Caption 33 of 34Rescue personnel work at the site of the partial collapse.Rescue personnel work at the site of the partial collapse. Photos: Deadly building collapse near MiamiRescue personnel work at the site of the partial collapse.Hide Caption 34 of 3410 building collapse gallery 0625 RESTRICTED08b building collapse gallery 062509 building collapse gallery 062511 building collapse gallery 062512 building collapse gallery 062513 building collapse gallery 062501 building collapse gallery 0626 02 building collapse gallery 0626 03 building collapse gallery 0626 04 building collapse gallery 0626 05 building collapse gallery 0626 06 building collapse gallery 0626 07 building collapse gallery 0626 35a miami building collapse 062534 miami building collapse 062527 miami building collapse 062429 miami building collapse 062416 miami building collapse 062431 miami building collapse 062417 miami building collapse 062418 miami building collapse 062419 miami building collapse 062420 miami building collapse 062421 miami building collapse 062410 florida building collapse 21062414 florida building collapse 21062413 florida building collapse 21062401 florida building collapse 21062428 miami building collapse 062412 florida building collapse 21062415 florida building collapse 21062404 florida building collapse 21062402 florida building collapse 21062409 florida building collapse 210624Building officials: There were no known structural issuesWith the cause of the collapse seemingly out of reach in the immediate days, officials familiar with the building have repeatedly said they were not aware of problems that could lead to its collapse. Donna DiMaggio Berger, an attorney for the Champlain Towers condo association, said board members did not know any information that would have foreshadowed Thursday’s disaster. The building was undergoing a 40-year recertification process, and the board only knew what the engineer’s certification report included in terms of repair work, she said. “Typical things that an engineer looks for in a certification report in Miami-Dade and Broward County, which are the two counties that require this kind of certification, is a review of the roof, the HVAC system, electrical, plumbing, and the building envelope,” Berger told CNN.”But certainly, there was nothing hazardous that was outlined in that report, anything that would have proven to be a danger to life.”Little fingers and screaming led a dog walker to a boy trapped in the collapsed Florida condo rubbleLittle fingers and screaming led a dog walker to a boy trapped in the collapsed Florida condo rubbleLittle fingers and screaming led a dog walker to a boy trapped in the collapsed Florida condo rubbleShe reiterated the building was safe to live in, as far as she and the board members knew. The complex was constructed in 1981, according to online Miami-Dade property records. Building standards were strengthened after the highly destructive Hurricane Andrew in 1992.”What that tells you is … nothing like this was foreseeable, at least it wasn’t seen by the engineers who were looking at the building from a structural perspective,” Kenneth Direktor, an attorney for the association of residents at the condo, told CNN previously. Direktor, an attorney for the association of residents at the condo, said the building had “thorough engineering inspections over the last several months” in preparation for compliance with a 40-year certification.A class-action lawsuit filed Thursday alleges that the association of the collapsed condo is responsible for “failures to secure and safeguard” the lives and property of condo owners.Direktor responded on behalf of the association saying, “I don’t know what caused this building to fall down … The engineers don’t know with certainty what caused this building to fall down.”

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