Iranian Rescuers Remove Three Bodies From Collapsed High-Rise Building

Iranian rescuers on January 21 removed three more bodies from the rubble of a 17-story commercial building that collapsed in Tehran two days earlier.

Tehran fire department representative Jalal Maleki told Iranian state television on January 21 that rescuers were tunneling under the rubble to try to reach the cellar of the Plasco building, but had not yet succeeded in reaching it.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rohani visited the site on January 21 and declared a national day of mourning.

"This is a lesson and a warning for all officials over the security of the lives of citizens, which is a civil right," Rohani told state TV.

Authorities have confirmed that at least 20 firefighters were killed by the building's collapse, and some officials have said as many as 25 more people may have been inside the building at the time of the disaster.

Hopes are fading for finding survivors.

Maleki said "the probability of rescuing anyone alive from under the ruble is very low.'

Smouldering fires and smoke have complicated the recovery efforts.

Officials estimate damages of at least $500 million and said many businesses in the building were not insured.

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