scene of disaster
scene of disaster Reuters

An engineer who three years ago examined the residential building in the town of Surfside that collapsed this week found that the complex was suffering from "major structural damage."

The report noted damage to the concrete slabs under the pool and cracks and significant disintegration of the columns, beams and walls of the underground parking garage in the 13-story building.

The damage to the building, which was erected 40 years ago and went through a re-approval process, was apparently caused by prolonged exposure to the salty air of Florida's south coast.

Two days after the building collapsed, 159 people are still unaccounted for. Four bodies have so far been extracted from the piles of concrete, and among the missing are many Jews and South American citizens. The building was occupied by permanent residents, vacationers and tenants, and it is not yet known if all the missing were indeed in their homes at the time of the disaster.