Bangladesh building collapse kills nearly 100
Updated: 2013-04-25 07:02
DHAKA - A block housing garment factories and shops collapsed in Bangladesh on Wednesday, killing nearly 100 people and injuring more than a thousand, officials said.
Firefighters and troops dug frantically through the rubble at the eight-storey Rana Plaza building in Savar, 30 km (20 miles) outside Dhaka. Television showed young women workers, some apparently semi-conscious, being pulled out.
Rescue workers try to rescue trapped garment workers in the Rana Plaza building which collapsed, in Savar, 30 km (19 miles) outside Dhaka April 24, 2013. [Photo/Agencies]
One fireman said about 2,000 people were in the building when the upper floors slammed down onto those below.
Bangladesh's booming garments industry has been plagued by fires and other accidents for years, despite a drive to improve safety standards. In November 112 workers died in a blaze at the Tazreen factory in a nearby suburb, putting a spotlight on global retailers which source clothes from Bangladesh.
"It looks like an earthquake has struck here," said one resident as he looked on at the chaotic scene of smashed concrete and ambulances making their way through the crowds of workers and wailing relatives.
"I was at work on the third floor, and then suddenly I heard a deafening sound, but couldn't understand what was happening. I ran and was hit by something on my head," said factory worker Zohra Begum.
An official at a control room set up to provide information said 96 people were confirmed dead and more than 1,000 injured. Doctors at local hospitals said they were unable to cope with the number of victims brought in.
Cracks in building
Mohammad Asaduzzaman, in charge of the area's police station, said factory owners appeared to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after a crack was detected in the block on Tuesday.
Five garment factories - employing mostly women - were housed in the building, including Ether Tex Ltd., whose chairman said he was unaware of any warnings not to open the workshops.