Survivors in Dhaka building collapse

Rescuers have pulled two survivors from the rubble of a six-storey building, more than 24-hours after it collapsed, killing at least 18 people in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, a rescue official said.

The death toll from the building collapse has risen to 18
The death toll from the building collapse has risen to 18

Using bulldozers to lift up concrete slabs, the rescuers on Sunday heard a shout and found an almost unscathed young man underneath, said  Selim Newaz Bhuiyan, a fire brigade official.

The survivor, who gave his name only as Shakil, was trapped in a space between the floor and a dislodged piece of roof. Shakil did not have any outward injuries, but rescuers sent him to state-run Dhaka Medical College Hospital for a check up, the official said.


About the same time, rescuers found Sumon Mia, a 32-year-old electrician, who was trapped in a space between two broken pillars on the ground floor of the collapsed building.


Mia, whose legs were badly injured, crawled toward a hole made by firefighters, who pulled him out, Bhuiyan said. He was being treated at a hospital in Dhaka, the official said.


Mia told his rescuers that he was working on the third floor with 10 to 12 others, and had just walked down to the first floor when he heard a loud bang and was engulfed in dust and darkness, according to the rescue official.


Oxygen pumped


Soldiers and firefighters on Sunday were using bulldozers, drills, crowbars and search lights to clear away debris to look for more survivors or bodies. They also pumped oxygen through pipes and used bullhorns to alert any survivors.


Bhuiyan said: “This side of the building tilted a bit when it fell, and there may be areas of free space we haven’t been able to reach yet.” But hopes of finding more survivors were fading fast.


Most of those killed or injured
were construction workers

Brig. General Nizam Ahmed, who is in charge of the rescue operation, said: “It will be a miracle if we find any more survivors. But we will go on.”


It may take a few more days to remove all the rubble, he added.


The death toll rose to 18 on Sunday after rescuers recovered a body from the debris and another victim died in hospital, Ahmed said.




Police detained an official of the Phoenix Group, which owns the building, and were searching for the company’s owner, said a duty officer at the Tejgaon Police Station


Most of the injured or killed appeared to be construction workers who were adding a new storey to the 30-year-old factory, which was being converted into a 500-bed medical centre. Passing pedestrians were also among the victims, rescuers said.


More than two dozen tin-roofed, one-room shanty homes were also buried by debris from the 1800 square metre building, Ahmed said. It wasn’t known how many shanty residents died, but Ahmed said most were out at work when the building crumbled.

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