Team of Specialists Sent to South Florida to Probe Collapse

By The Associated Press
The Associated Press
The Associated Press
June 27, 2021 Updated: June 27, 2021

WASHINGTON—A half-dozen scientists and engineers who specialize in disastrous structure failures are headed to south Florida to collect firsthand information on the cause of the catastrophic Champlain Towers South collapse.

Their initial work will be used to determine whether to pursue a more thorough study.

The first two members of the team arrived in Florida on Friday and four more will be there by Monday, said Jason Averill, an official at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. That agency also investigated disasters such as the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11, the 2011 Joplin, Missouri, tornadoes and Hurricane Maria’s devastation in Puerto Rico.

Epoch Times Photo
Search and Rescue personnel work after the partial collapse of the 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building in Surfside, Fla., on June 24, 2021.(Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
florida building collapse
A man reacts as people hang up signs of missing residents from the partial collapse in Surfside where the rescue personnel continue their search for victims the day after in Surfside near Miami Beach, Fla., on June 25, 2021. (Maria Alejandra Cardona/Reuters)

Averill said the team will collect information over the next week to decide whether a more thorough investigation is warranted. The team’s aim is to help determine what caused the collapse and suggest future steps to avoid another such disaster. He said the team will avoid getting in the way of efforts to rescue trapped residents and disaster response teams.

Earlier investigations have sometimes taken a couple of years or more and resulted in thorough recommendations of future steps, he said. Averill is chief of the materials and structural systems division at the institute.

The “experts will work with federal, state and local authorities to identify and preserve materials that might be helpful in understanding why the collapse occurred,” said Jennifer Huergo, an agency spokeswoman.

By Will Lester

The Associated Press
The Associated Press