New Video From Collapsed Surfside Condo Shows 'Astronomical' Corrosion

A newly released video by a group of federal investigators of the collapsed condo in Surfside, Florida, that came down in June and killed 98 people, shows evidence of "astronomical" corrosion, the Associated Press reported.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology released the video where major corrosion can be seen of one column that connected to the building's foundation. The agency said Wednesday it is conducting an investigation into the collapse of the Champlain Towers South.

"The corrosion on the bottom of that column is astronomical," a structural engineer professor at the University of Washington, Dawn Lehman, told the Miami Herald. "If there's that amount of corrosion, this should have been fixed."

Lehman said the amount of corrosion should have been evident and documented before the condo's collapse during an ongoing 40-year inspection that was occurring.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

Collapsed Surfside, Florida Condo
A newly released video of the collapsed condominium building in Surfside, Florida shows "astronomical" corrosion. In this photo, excavating machinery continues to dig through the ruins of the partially collapsed 12-story Champlain Towers South condo building on July 15, 2021 in Surfside, Florida. Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The video released also shows overcrowded concrete reinforcement of the condominium.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology said its investigation of the building's collapse will be five-pronged and led by Judith Mitrani-Reiser. She is a Cuban-born engineer who grew up in Miami.

The video shows densely packed steel reinforcement in various sections of the building.

The images show beams, walls and columns that appear to be overcrowded with steel reinforcement, which suggests potential weaknesses, she explained.

"There is no reason there should be that kind of bar congestion," Lehman said.

The risk posed by "congested" vertical rebar in columns would have been even worse in spots where the rebar overlapped, which is known as "lap splice" regions, Abieyuwa Aghayere, a Drexel University engineering researcher who also reviewed the video, told the newspaper.

While it's already congested with rebar, at the splice regions, it would have been "even further congested," Aghayere told the Herald.

He said he was struck by how "powdery" and white the concrete in columns appeared in the newly released video. Stone-like aggregates used to strengthen concrete during construction typically remain visible but they were not in the images from the collapse site.

"The white color just stuns me," Aghayere told the newspaper. He added that instead of seeing aggregate material mixed into the concrete, "it's just homogenous," which is likely indication of saltwater damage.

He said it is impossible to tell from just the images whether the concrete used in original construction was weaker than the designs called for, or whether the apparent weakness was due to damage over time.

"It doesn't look like normal concrete to me. What's going on?" Aghayere said.

Rubble of Collapsed Condo in Surfside, Florida
Rescue workers work in the rubble at the Champlain Towers South Condo in Surfside, Fla., in this Friday, June 25, 2021, file photo. Gerald Herbert/AP Photo