At least six people have been killed and dozens injured or missing under the rubble as a result of the collapse of an unfinished high-rise building in southwestern Iran, officials said.
More than 30 people have been pulled alive from the rubble, but feared at least 50 more are still trapped, with locals calling it a “day of mourning.”
From the place where the tower stood, suffocating white dust swirled, closing the surrounding cars, and shocked observers stared in horror at the wreckage, some shouting.
“Parts of the 10-storey Metropolis building, located in Abadan in Khuzestan province, have collapsed,” state television said. “Six people were killed and 27 were injured in the crash.”
Rescuers climbed on huge slabs of broken concrete and balls of twisted metal bars. Search dogs were used to search for dozens that were allegedly trapped.
Mehdi Valipur, head of Iran’s Red Crescent rescue and emergency operations, said 32 people had been released from the rubble, ILNA reported.
Members of the Red Crescent of Iran and officials are working on the site of a collapse of a ten-story building in the city of Abadan, Khuzestan province in southern Iran, May 23, 2022. Source: AAP / IRANIAN RED MONTHLY DISTRIBUTORS / EPA
But Jafar Miadfar, head of the national emergency service, said that, according to the official IRNA news agency, “according to witnesses, 50 people are still trapped.”
“Today is a day of mourning for poor Abadan,” residents shouted in a video posted on social media.
The cars are broken
Rescuers were seen on television carrying some of the wounded, who were pulled out from under the rubble on a stretcher.
Several cars were crushed by blocks of falling debris – some of them were apparently inside, according to the images.
The crane began work to try to remove some debris, including lifting a car crushed by tons of concrete.
Authorities did not provide more details about the victims.
“About 40 percent of the building has been destroyed and (the rest) is in danger of collapsing,” Governor Ehsan Abaspur said on television, ordering the evacuation of neighboring buildings.
The rest of the building, which still stood, with sagging floors, towered over a pile of rubbish.
State television broadcast a live broadcast of the tragedy, which showed several fire brigades clearing twisted metal.
The building is located on the busiest street in Abadan, where “commercial, medical and office” buildings predominate, according to state television.
The death toll is expected to rise after an unfinished building collapsed in southwestern Iran, officials said. Source: Getty / – / TASNIM NEWS / AFP via Getty Images
During a visit to Oman, President Ebrahim Raisi ordered the fire brigade to “immediately deploy to Abadan rescue forces and equipment needed to remove the wreckage,” according to IRNA.
The cause of the collapse is being clarified, the owner of the house and the contractor have been detained, said city prosecutor Hamid Maranipur.
Abadan, a city of about 230,000 people, is located 660 kilometers (410 miles) southwest of the capital Tehran.
In January 2017, 22 people, including 16 firefighters, were killed after a fire engulfed the Plasco building, a 15-storey shopping mall and the oldest high-rise building in the Iranian capital.