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Building collapse kills at least five people and injures many more in south Iran

Rubble remains from a 10-story commercial building under construction that collapsed killing several people in the southwestern city of Abadan, Iran, Monday, May 23, 2022 (Mohammad Amin Ansari, Fars News Agency via AP) 
Associated Press Reporters

At least five people were killed when a 10-storey commercial building still under construction collapsed in the south-western Iranian city of Abadan, state TV has reported.

There are fears the casualty toll could be much higher as more than 80 people are still believed to be trapped under the rubble after the Metropol building toppled, burying shops and even some cars in the surrounding streets, the report said.

?Ehsun Abbaspour, the Abadan regional governor, told state TV there were 27 injured in the collapse in Amir Kabir Street, with some in a critical condition.

The report gave no reason for the collapse, which happened during a sandstorm, but the owner of the building as well as the project manager of the construction company that built it have been arrested.

People lined up at the local blood transfusion centre to donate blood for the wounded.

“I thought it was an earthquake at first,” said Ahmad, a shop owner in the neighbourhood who only gave one name because he was not authorised to talk to the media.

He said angry residents assaulted the city’s mayor, Hossein Hamidpour, when he visited the scene.

Videos on social media showed angry protesters gathering at the site as rescue teams were still working to retrieve casualties and clear the rubble.

Rescue workers from neighbouring cities rushed to Abadan to help.

No further information was immediately available and authorities said the incident is under investigation.

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 Abadan’s Rex movie theatre killed hundreds.

Abadan hosts the Middle East’s oldest oil refinery, which went online in 1912.

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