The death toll in a catastrophic tower collapse in southwestern Iran rose to at least 38 on Sunday, state TV reported, as emergency workers pulled another body from the rubble amid fears still more could be trapped in the destruction.
It's unclear how many more people remain unaccounted for in the collapse of the still under-construction tower at the Metropol Building in Abadan nearly two weeks ago. Rescuers were still working and families still waiting for word of their loved ones despite promises the search operation would be finished by now.
The structural building failure in Khuzestan province has focused public attention on shoddy construction practices and prompted mass allegations of government corruption and negligence.
Authorities have arrested 13 people as part of a broad probe into the disaster, including Abadan's mayor, Hossein Hamidpour, who resigned last Friday.
Protesters have gathered in mourning at the collapse site, denouncing top officials and demanding accountability, according to videos widely shared on social media and analyzed by The Associated Press. However, reporting on events in Abadan remains extremely difficult as the threat of arrest looms. Authorities have disrupted internet access, according to experts, restricting people’s ability to share videos and information.