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Published: Sunday May 31, 2009 MYT 1:54:00 PM

Ancient Myanmar temple building collapses, six killed

YANGON, Myanmar: (AP) A 2,300-year-old Myanmar temple building totally collapsed while workers were attempting to repair it, killing six people and injuring 30, witnesses said Sunday.

Some people were still trapped beneath bricks, bamboo scaffolding and other debris a day after the collapse 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 southern part of Yangon. Military personnel often work on public projects in Myanmar.

Villagers from nearby communities also were assisting in the effort. The accident was not reported in the country's state-run media.

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 Tin Win Win, a member of a committee to collect donations for the shrine.

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