AMMAN, Jordan (AP) — Jordanian teams on Wednesday rescued an infant and worked to save others from the rubble of a collapsed building, as officials said they had arrested three people in connection to the disaster.
State media said at least nine people were killed and others remained missing Wednesday, a day after the four-story building fell in Jordan’s capital, Amman. Authorities said 10 other people were injured. It remained unclear what caused the collapse.
Nisreen al-Hmoud said she was at home with her two sons when the building collapsed.
“The first thing I saw was the ceiling when it fell on my head. After that the floor split, and my children and I fell into it,” she said. “The sofa flew toward my son and protected him from the rubble that fell on us.”
Her 13-year-old son, Nour, speaking from a hospital room, said he remembered his mother telling him to move quickly and then the floor opening up before he lost consciousness.
Amman public prosecutor Hassan Al-Abdallat told the official Petra News Agency that three people had been charged with multiple counts of causing death and harm. He said his office would form a technical committee to determine the cause of the collapse and identify those responsible.
State media identified the suspects as one of the building’s owners, its maintenance contractor and its maintenance technician.
Rescue crews, meanwhile, continued to dig through the ruins in hope of finding survivors. The Petra agency said an infant had been rescued and evacuated.
Brig. Gen. Hatem Jaber, director of the civil defense department, said rescuers were working on the assumption that everyone trapped inside is still alive. “We work with cautious optimism,” he said.
The building was located in Jabal al-Weibdeh, an older district of the Jordanian capital that is popular among wealthier residents and expatriates but also includes some poorer areas.
Jordan is a close Western ally that has long been seen as a bastion of stability in the volatile Middle East.