The Foreign Ministry reported Thursday that nine Argentines are missing following the collapse of a 12-storey apartment building in Miami early Thursday morning.
Among them are plastic surgeon Andrés Galfrascoli, his partner Fabián Nuñez and their six-year-old daughter Sofía, said a statement.
Galfrascoli is originally from Corrientes, and had lived in Miami for about a decade. He is close friends with First Lady Fabiola Yañez.
The family had travelled to South Florida for coronavirus vaccinations, according to diplomatic sources.
Six other missing Argentines were not named, but the Foreign Ministry said it was in contact with relatives.
One citizen, initially thought to have been missing was located by late afternoon, according to diplomatic sources, who said that the individual’s name "was included in the list [of those missing] by mistake."
Local authorities in Miami said they were still without news of 99 people in total who may have been inside the building when part of it came crashing down.
So far 102 others have been accounted for, Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said.
At least one person has been confirmed dead, Surfside mayor Charles Burkett told NBC's Today show. The death toll may be much higher. 14 survivors have been recovered from the rubble, according to Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally Heyman, speaking with CNN.
The area where the tragedy occurred, Surfside, is popular with Argentines. A few blocks away lies Little Buenos Aires, known for its collection of authentic restaurants and cafés, as well as a weekly farmer’s market.
The incident occurred between 88th and Collins Avenue, near Miami Beach, with the exact cause still unknown. According to local Miami news channel WPLG, many people may still be trapped under the rubble. Dozens of firefighters and EMTs worked through the morning and all day to search for those who are still missing, using trained sniffer dogs. Neighbours were rescued from their balconies.
At a Surfside community center, relatives of the missing cried as they waited for news. Tenants of the ruined building who were lucky enough to have been away when disaster struck pondered sudden homelessness.
Local media said records showed the ocean-view building was built in 1981 and had more than 130 units inside. The building was occupied by a mix of full-time and seasonal residents and renters, and officials have stressed it is unclear how many people were actually inside at the time.