Miami-Dade officials have said 159 people are now missing at the partially collapsed oceanfront apartment tower in Surfside, Florida
The new figure was much higher than the 99 announced since yesterday, when the condo collapsed.
So far four bodies have been recovered as rescue workers carefully examined the rubbles looking for signs of survivors.
The grim scene unfolded as President Joe Biden approved an emergency declaration, clearing the way for federal assistance in the state.
“The official death count is now four,” Rachel Johnson, spokeswoman for Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava, told The Washington Post.
Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said there are now 159 people unaccounted for.
The number of accounted people has also gone up to 120, CNN reported.
“Unfortunately, this has been a tragic night. We do have 120 people now accounted for, which is very, very good news. But our unaccounted for number has gone up to 159. In addition, we can tragically report the death count is now four,” she said Friday.
“I want to be very clear about the numbers. They are very fluid. We’ll continue to update you as we have them … The search and rescue team worked throughout the night, and it was a very active scene,” she said.
Among the missing is Bhavna Patel, a 38-year-old British and US citizen, her husband Vishal Patel, 42, and their one-year-old daughter Aishani, a relative told Sky News.
Bhavna had been expecting another baby.