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Death Toll Rises to 17 in Brazil Buildings Collapse

Firefighters carry away a body from the rubble after a building collapsed in downtown Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 27, 2012. The building collapsed on Wednesday.

The death toll from the collapse of three buildings in Brazil has risen to at least 17 people.

Officials say rescue workers pulled more bodies from the rubble Saturday, three days after the office buildings collapsed in downtown Rio de Janeiro.

At least seven people remain missing. Authorities say they do not expect to find more survivors.

The three buildings that fell were between four and 20 stories high. Rio Mayor Eduardo Paes said the collapse appeared to be caused by structural problems and not a gas leak as first suspected.

Witnesses said they heard what sounded like an explosion Wednesday evening, and then, with a rumble, the top floors of the buildings began collapsing, covering nearby vehicles with a thick dust.

Officials say the buildings were for commercial, not residential, use.

The incident comes as Brazil prepares to host the 2014 World Cup and two years later, the Summer Olympics.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP.