A third victim of a South Florida parking garage collapse died early today as rescue workers continue to comb the rubble in what is now being called a recovery effort for a final victim at the Miami-Dade college campus.
Part of the under-construction parking garage in Doral, Fla., collapsed around 11:40 a.m. Wednesday, initially killing two and injuring at least seven, all of them contractors. Juan Samuel, the third victim, was pulled from the rubble early Thursday in a dramatic rescue, but died at a Miami trauma center, police spokesman Javier Baez said.
Police are now doubtful they will find a final missing construction worker alive after an intensive overnight search.
Miami Dade Police officials told ABC News their mission has shifted from search and rescue to recovery.
Overnight, rescuers pulled construction worker Samuel from the pancaked layers of the parking garage, after he spent 12 hours buried beneath five floors of collapsed concrete. Samuel was raced out on a stretcher just after 1 a.m. He was in "extremely critical condition" as transport by helicopter to a trauma center was being arranged, the Associated Press reported.
Samuels was found buried waist-deep inside his truck, and workers were forced to amputate his legs to remove him, authorities said.
Searchers at the garage at Miami-Dade Community College's west campus worked feverishly overnight delicately picking through the rubble in a race to find the last missing person, Robert Budhoo, an electrical contractor whose family says has still not answered his phone.
"He's the best dad in the world," his daughter Tasha Bagwandeen said through tears. "We need you guys to find him, please."
Hours earlier on Wednesday, firefighters squeezed between steel beams to save another man who had also been pinned. Police say at least 12 contractors were working on the new garage at the college when it collapsed around noon Wednesday.
Chris Morel told ABC News that he was there to witness the collapse and ensuing chaos.
"I was able to see the last floor just crumble down and I just saw smoke coming up and people just running around," he said.
Two bodies have now been recovered and seven survivors are hospitalized. Meanwhile, Robert Budhoo's family waits and prays that he is found alive.
"We need prayers ... because I believe in miracles," his wife Laurel Budhoo said. "I believe in miracles."
Ground was broken on the $22.5 million project in February, and the 1,855-space garage was to be finished in December, according to the website of Ajax Building Corp., the contractor on the site.
No students were injured in collapse. The college's campus will stay closed for the remainder of the week.
It wasn't immediately clear what caused the collapse of the partially-finished structure.Also Read