Rana Plaza collapses: Death toll climbs to 355, missing 500 (Video) (Updated)

Savar, Apr 26 (Priyo.com): The death toll continues to escalate reaching to 350 till this (Friday) afternoon, from Rana Plaza, the eight-storied collapsed building in Savar. Seventy-two more people were rescued alive today. The total number of workers rescued alive accumulates 2431. 340 bodies were handed over to their families.


Photo: CNN

29 more people were rescued alive today.

Those rescued on Friday included two members of Industrial Police -- ASI Mukul and constable Rafiqul Islam. They got trapped inside the building when they had been there on Wednesday morning to inspect it.

Earlier on Thursday: Nothing much to say except standing silently and helplessly with tears streaming from eyes as the train of at least 292 dead people pass by from the eight-storied building, collapsed in Savar in the worst such disaster in Bangladesh’s history. The rescue team identified some 250 bodies and handed over to family and relatives on Thursday.

Locals and relatives of the victims said the rescue operation is getting hampered and delayed for lack of modern equipment. However, rescuers supplied food, water and oxygen to people trapped inside the building. Relatives of the victims vented anger as the law enforcers barred them from going near to the collapsed building.

Rescuers have brought out a group of 24 people from a place inside the debris around 35 hours after a building collapsed in Savar. Rescuers found the people alive at a place in between the first and third floor and rescued them around 8:15pm.


Photo: Huffington Post

There are still several hundred people alive therein, but it is difficult to exactly say how many, survivors told reporters at the scene on Thursday night.

At 10:45pm yesterday, a fire broke out at the southern side of the collapsed building. Rescuers doused the fire 5-7 minutes later

So far, 2000 people were rescued from the rubbles of the building till filing of this report around 6pm.

Rescuers feared that the number of victims would go up further as many are still remained trapped under the debris.

Hundreds of people, mostly garment workers and relatives of the victims, gathered at the site to witness the rescue operation as the rescuers brining out bodies one after another from the rubbles.

In a press briefing in the afternoon, GOC (9 division) major general Shaheed Hossain Suhradwardi said, “Let’s face the heart-rending incident with patience. The rescue operation will continue until the last person is rescued, either alive or dead.”

The bodies of the garment workers, mostly females, were laid out on the grounds of nearby Adhar Chandra School and College.

Each time a body was identified it led to a heartrending sight as wailing filled the air.

Meanwhile, opposition leader Khaleda Zia arrived at the spot at 5:35 pm to see for herself the trail of devastation caused by the building crash.

Jatiya Sangsad Chief Whip Abdus Shahid, State Minister for Liberation War Affairs Capt (retd) AB Tajul Islam, local MP Talukder Towhid Jang Murad and GOC 9 Infantry Division of Savar Major General Chowdhury Hossain Suhradwardi visited the spot in the morning.

Rescue workers, led by Army, were continuing their operation to pull out those remained trapped in the building.

It is not clear how many people were inside the building when it grounded, but estimates suggest around 5,000 people, mostly women, were working in the four garment factories at the time.

Salvage operations are running through Wednesday night with flashlights installed but rescuers have complained of the presence of too many people at the scene.

Enthusiastic rescue effort around 3am on Thursday - roughly 18 hours on from the moment the 8-floor building housing at least 4 garment factories and some 300 shops with up to 6,000 workers - the official death toll had risen to 135, as indicated by the number of bodies laid out on the grounds of a nearby college. The final death toll is likely to be much higher.

More than a few souls whispered untold numbers had been whisked away in the darkness, but ever since evening fell the focus had shifted very much onto the living.

Rescue teams formed out of the security and emergency services, the young doctors of the Janashasthya Kendra, as well as civilians worked round the clock to converge on any openings they could find in the wave of debris, through which they could try and meet some cry for life, and hopefully pull out some living human beings.

Invariably a body, alive or dead, stood in the way. In the late afternoon, a man gave up his leg to escape what he described as a living hell. A senior doctor performed the surgery, but after midnight, the young doctors on duty were more apprehensive about taking such action when called upon by the army on at least two occasions.

One of the JSK doctors on duty told, they had been called out to cut off a limb on 3-4 occasions, all of which they refused. But rescue services were frustrated by their failures to get past bodies obstructing the way to more living human beings beyond.

Work is slow, and needs to be, because boring a hole down the wrong line can end up triggering some other collapse.

Haider Ali, Additional Secretary at the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association (BGMEA), told on Wednesday midnight that 120 bodies were recovered while 67 of them were handed over to their families and relatives.


Graphics: Daily Star

The industry lobby has opened three booths -- at Enam Medical College and Hospital, Rana Plaza and Adhar Chandra High School -- to determine the actual number of deceased and injured, and the damages.

“The building might have collapsed due to faulty construction,” said Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir. The minister visited the spot around 1:40pm, nearly five-hour after the building collapsed. He also said that the government would bring the culprits to justice after probing the incident.

Muhiuddin also expressed sympathy to the family members of the victims and assured them of taking all responsibilities of their treatment.

Witnesses said the building, ‘Rana Plaza’, collapsed all of a sudden after a big bang around 9.00am.

Instructed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, four rescued teams of Bangladesh Army along with a medical team rushed to the spot and were carrying out the rescue operation with the help of local administration, said PMs’ press secretary Abul Kalam Azad.

The identity of the deceased couldn’t be known immediately while death toll may rise as many others were trapped in the collapsed building.

Savar Model Police OC Asaduzzaman said the rear of the building suddenly started to collapse on Wednesday morning, triggering all-round panic. A large number of police and RAB personnel rushed to the spot to start rescue, he said.

Locals have joined police, RAB and fire fighters in the rescue.

Meanwhile, traffic on the Dhaka-Aricha Highway has come to a halt after the collapse as thousands of people came out to join the rescue.

OC Asaduzzaman said four garments factories and a bank branch located in the complex were closed on Tuesday after the building’s wall showed cracks. However, some workers returned to factories on Wednesday before the collapse.

The building collapsed suddenly with a loud sound, according to stall owner Sujon Mia.

The ground and first floors of the plaza had shops selling electronic goods, computers, perfumes, garments, and also had a branch of Brac Bank.

On the second floor was New Wave Bottoms Limited. Phantom Apparels Ltd was on the third floor while Phantom Tack Ltd was on the fourth floor and Ethar Textile Ltd on the fifth floor.

Officials of the local administration had visited the spot on Tuesday.

Engineer Abdur Razzak had said the building needed to be examined by structural experts from BUET for the sake of safety. He had also forewarned about the lurking danger of a possible collapse.

The Rana Plaza is owned by Md Sohel Rana. He had apparently said the cracks were nothing serious.

WATER

The victims who are pinned under debris and choked with cement dust were heard crying for water, said media reports.

SPECTRUM GARMENTS TRAGEDY

On the night of April 11 in 2005, at least 64 workers were killed when the nine-storey building caved in.

The building was reportedly structurally unsound, and not properly designed and was erected on a flood-prone marshland without permission from the authorities.

PRESIDENT-ELECT, PM, OPPOSITION CHIEF CONDOLE DEATHS

President-elect Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition chief Khaleda Zia in separate messages expressed deep shock and condolences at the deaths.

CLAIM OF WORKERS

Several workers of the garment factories claimed that the owners of their factories compelled them to rejoin work when they gathered in front of the building in the morning.

On Tuesday, several cracks had developed on the building and all the staff of the factories were evacuated.

Several garment workers were also injured while all of them were trying to rush out from the building.

Local Media::

Bdnews24.com -- Death toll 281 and counting
Death toll in the Savar tragedy reached 281 on Friday morning, nearly 48 hours after the Rana Plaza collapsed with around 2,000 people injured and many more trapped inside the rubble.

The Daily Star -- Toll reaches 281

New Age -- Rana Plaza death toll reaches 258
The death toll from the building collapse at Savar rose on Thursday to 258 with about two thousand survivors rescued by the afternoon. Rescuers and local people feared that about a thousand were still trapped inside the rubble.

Daily Sun -- Death toll soars over 260 in Savar tragedy
A slow-pace rescue operation prolonged the agony of many still trapped alive in death caves at Rana Plaza for two days while the death toll in the tragedy jumped over 260 when the last report came on Thursday midnight.

The Independent -- Death toll rises to 243
The death toll in the collapse of the eight-storey Rana Plaza at Savar rose to 265 on Thursday, and the figure was climbing with every passing hour.

Financial Express -- Death toll now 240, may climb higher
The death toll from the collapse of Rana Plaza, housing several garment factories, in Savar reached 240 and could climb higher, as many people were still trapped beneath the wreckage of the multi-storied commercial building, rescuers and police said.

প্রথম আলো -- ধ্বংসস্তূপের নিচে অনেক মানুষ

সমকাল -- মৃত্যুকূপে আর কত মানুষ

কালের কণ্ঠ -- মৃত্যুফাঁদে বাঁচার লড়াই

মানবজমিন -- স্বজনদের অপেক্ষা বুক ফাটা কান্না

নতুন বার্তা ডটকম -- রাতভর ধ্বংসস্তূপের নিচে
থেকে ৪১ জন উদ্ধার

পরিবর্তন -- লাশ উদ্ধার ২৮১, হস্তান্তর ২৫৬, মাঝরাতে ৪১ জনকে জীবিত উদ্ধার

International Media::

BBC -- Dhaka building collapse: Fears for hundreds still missing
Hundreds of people are still missing after Wednesday's collapse of a building in Bangladesh which killed at least 273 people, local officials say.

CNN -- Bangladesh's prime minister calls for punishment in building collapse
Bangladesh's prime minster and House leader called Thursday for those responsible for the deadly collapse of an eight-story building outside the capital city of Dhaka to be punished.

Reuters -- Dozens rescued but Bangladesh building toll soars towards 300
Rescuers pulled dozens of survivors from the rubble of Bangladesh's worst industrial accident on Friday, but the death toll rose towards 300 after the collapse of a building housing factories that made low-cost garments for Western brands.

Aljazeera -- Dozens rescued after Dhaka factory collapse (With Video)
The search for survivors from Bangladesh's worst industrial accident stretched into a third day on Friday, with the death toll rising to 290 after the collapse of a building housing garment factories.

Dawn -- Bangladesh toll hits 273 as US vows to help crackdown
Bangladeshi rescuers pulled dozens more people alive from a razed garment factory building on Friday as the US pressed for a crackdown on deadly negligence of safety norms in the clothing industry.

The Times Of India -- Bangladesh toll tops 270, many missing

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