Death toll reaches 10 in building collapse in southwest Iran
Tehran, Iran (AP) – The death toll from the collapse of a commercial building still under construction in southwestern Iran reached 10 on Tuesday, after more bodies were found in the rubble of the city of Abadan, Iranian media reported.
Dozens of people were trapped when the 10-story Metropol building toppled over on Monday, burying shops and even cars in surrounding streets. Initially, five were reportedly killed, but the death toll doubled a day later. At least 39 people were injured, most lightly.
State television said rescue efforts were still ongoing on Tuesday and dozens of people had been brought to safety. An investigation has been launched to find out why the building on Amir Kabir Street collapsed during a sandstorm.
The owner of the building as well as the contractor for the construction company that built it were arrested on Monday. On Tuesday, state television said six more people had been arrested, linked to the building’s construction or local authorities. The semi-official Tasnim news agency said a total of 10 people had been arrested, including the town’s mayor, Hossein Hamidpour.
Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi offered his condolences and called on local authorities to shed light on the matter. Iranian Vice President for Economic Affairs Mohsen Razaei and Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi visited the scene of the incident.
A separate parliamentary inquiry into the case was opened on Tuesday.
The collapse reminded many of the 2017 fire and collapse of the iconic Plasco building in the capital of Tehran that claimed dozens of lives.
In 1978, a fire in the Rex cinema in Abadan killed hundreds of people. Abadan is home to the oldest oil refinery in the Middle East, which was commissioned in 1912.