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Fatal collapse in Bangladesh

April 24, 2013

Dozens of people are feared dead in Bangladesh following a building collapse in the capital, Dhaka. Rescuers are searching for hundreds still believed to be trapped.

Bangladeshi Army personnel and civilian volunteers work on the scene at a building collapse in Savar, on the outskirts of Dhaka, on April 24, 2013. An eight-storey building containing several garment factories collapsed in Bangladesh, killing at least 82 people and further highlighting safety problems in the clothing industry. Armed with concrete cutters and cranes, hundreds of fire service and army rescue workers struggled to find survivors in the mountain of concrete and mangled steel, which resembled the aftermath of an earthquake. AFP PHOTO/ Munir uz ZAMAN (Photo credit should read MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Image: MUNIR UZ ZAMAN/AFP/Getty Images

At least 147 people were killed Wednesday and hundreds injured after an eight-story commercial building collapsed on the outskirts of Dhaka at around 9 a.m. local time (0300 UTC).

Fire fighters and army personnel continued working frantically into the night to rescue people inside the collapsed building, with hundreds still missing. Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder told news agency AP that some 600 survivors had so far been found.

Dutzende Tote nach Hauseinsturz in Bangladesch

With rescue operations still ongoing, exact figures are uncertain. The number of dead is expected to rise.

The Rana Plaza in Savar, 30 kilometers (19 miles) from central Dhaka, was home to shops, a bank and several garment factories. Various news agencies have quoted workers as saying the building first developed severe cracks on Tuesday, but these were ignored by managers.

On a visit to the site, Home Minister Muhiuddin Khan Alamgir told reporters the building had violated construction codes and "the culprits would be punished."

The incident is likely to raise further questions about the safety of the nation's garment industry.

In November, a fire at a garment factory on the outskirts of the capital killed 112 people, prompting public outcry. Bangladesh has the second-biggest garment industry in the world, with over 4,000 factories providing cheap clothes for western brands.

ccp/ipj (Reuters, AFP, AP, dpa)