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Temple collapse kills at least 2

A 2,300-YEAR-OLD Myanmar temple building collapsed while workers were attempting to repair it, killing at least two people and injuring scores more, security officials said yesterday.

Earlier, witnesses at the pagoda said at least six people had died and 30 people were injured.

Some people were still trapped beneath bricks, bamboo scaffolding and other debris a day after the collapse on Saturday, said Tin Shwe, who runs a small shop near the temple.

The tall, bell-shaped structure, called a stupa, collapsed because of age and deterioration, said a temple official, Tin Tin Win. Damage to the Danok temple was detected in 2006.

Tin Shwe said most of the victims were navy personnel doing reconstruction work on the temple, located in the south of Yangon. Military personnel often work on public projects in Myanmar.

Villagers from nearby communities were also assisting in the effort.

Security officials supervising the cleanup said at least two people died at the site. The officials did not know if others had died after being found in the debris.

On May 7, the wife and family members of Myanmar's junta leader, Than Shwe, attended a religious ceremony at the temple during which a diamond orb was placed atop the structure. The orb fell to the ground during the collapse.

"Authorities are looking for the diamond bud (orb), relics and other precious ornaments" kept inside the stupa, said temple official Tin.



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