BBC- A huge rescue operation is under way in Miami-Dade County, Florida, after a 12-storey residential building partially collapsed, killing at least one person.

Rescuers are combing through the rubble, searching for survivors, and were seen pulling a boy out alive.

Images from Surfside, north of Miami Beach, show a pile of debris on one side of the building.

One person died, at least eight people were injured and there are fears that others are trapped, US media report.

The collapse is said to have occurred at around 02:00 (06:00 GMT).

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue said they had sent 80 vehicles to the scene. Police are also assisting with the rescue operation.

The death of a woman was reported by an Associated Press reporter, quoting their own sources. Florida news site Local 10 also reported a death, quoting fire rescue officials.

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‘Like a storm or something coming in’

Police gave the building’s location as 8777 Collins Avenue, the address of the 12-storey Champlain Towers, which contains more than 100 beachfront apartments and was built in 1981.

Surfside runs along Collins Avenue, north of Miami Beach city limits.

Champlain TowersIMAGE COPYRIGHTGOOGLE STREET VIEW
Champlain Towers as it looked before the collapse

Santo Mejil, 50, was woken when his wife called from a unit on the ninth floor of one of the three buildings that make up Champlain Towers. She is an overnight caretaker for an elderly disabled woman.

She said she heard a big explosion,” Mr Mejil told the Miami Herald. “It felt like an earthquake.” His wife was among those rescued.

Rescuers in SurfsideIMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS
Hundreds of rescuers are involved
Rescuers in SurfsideIMAGE COPYRIGHTREUTERS
A crane was used to reach neighbouring balconies

A man who lives in a neighbouring building described what happened for CBS: “The building shook and then I looked out the window and you couldn’t see, I thought it was like a storm or something coming in.

“When the dust cleared, the back two-thirds of the building was gone, it was down to the ground.”

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