Hundreds of mechanical diggers rolled into the quake-hit city of Bam in southeast Iran early on Monday, reflecting the end of major efforts to rescue survivors and the start of an urgent bid to recover thousands of corpses amid growing health fears.
While the official death toll from Friday's earthquake stood at 22,000, local officials estimated that at least 30,000 died, according to AFP.
Meanwhile, three people were killed Sunday when an Iranian navy helicopter crashed just outside Bam, after delivering aid to Bam, the student news agency ISNA reported.
"An Iranian helicopter, which belonged to the Iranian navy, crashed on its way to Bandar Abbas, once it delivered its relief items to Bam," ISNA quoted local official Asadollah Iranmansh as saying.
Two pilots and a third person on board were killed, the agency added. (Albawaba.com)
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