Death toll in building collapse in southwest Iran rises to 24

Tehran, Iran (AP) – Rescue teams at the site of a collapsed 10-story building in southwestern Iran pulled five more bodies from the rubble on Friday, bringing the death toll in the disaster to 24 , Iranian state television reported on Friday.

A tower of the Metropol Building which was under construction in the city of Abadan collapsed on Monday. Thirty-seven people were rescued, three of whom are still being treated in hospital. It is not yet known how many people are buried under the rubble.

Iranian Vice President Mohammad Mokhber traveled to Abadan and visited the site of the incident on Friday.

Authorities have arrested 11 suspects as part of a widening investigation, including the city’s mayor.

The deadly collapse raised questions about the safety of similar buildings in the country and pointed to an ongoing crisis in Iranian construction projects that has seen other disasters in the earthquake-prone country.

Provincial officials in Abadan cited “disregard for technical standards” and “overbuilding” during construction, saying negligence caused the collapse. The building was only legally allowed to be a six-story tower, but four stories were added during construction.

The collapse reminded many of the 2017 fire and collapse of the iconic Plasco building in Iran’s capital, Tehran, which killed 26 people.