Rescue crews pulled a survivor from the rubble of a garment factory 17 days after the building collapsed. The discovery came as officials announced that the death toll had exceeded 1,000.
Reshma Begum was found alive and relatively well on Friday amidst the ruins of a collapsed garment factory near the Bangladeshi capital of Dhaka.
The young woman feared for her life every day for two weeks following the collapse of the eight-storey building on April 24.
Officials said Begum was in a gap between a beam and column in the ruins and appeared to have had access to water.
The astonishing news came just as officials announced that the death toll had climbed above 1,000 and that rescue crews had little hope of finding more survivors. Rescue crews were stunned when they heard Begum's cries for help.
"I heard her say, 'I am alive, please save me.' I gave her water. She was OK," said Miraj Hossain, a volunteer who helped rescue Begum.
Begum's sister Asma said she and her mother kept a vigil for the seamstress but had lost hope as scores of bodies were removed from the site.
"We got her back just when we had lost all our hope to find her alive," she reportedly told Somoy TV. "God is so merciful."
Relatives rushed to the hospital to see her.
Begum's rescue came just as recovery teams were beginning to wrap up their work. Most of their efforts in recent days had seen the removal of scores of corpses from the site.
An army spokesman said Friday that the recovery efforts had thus far found 1,053 bodies.
It is unclear exactly how many workers were in the building at the time of the collapse, but more than 2,500 people were rescued in the hours after the disaster.
The last survivor to have been found before Begum was on April 28, four days after the collapse, and even she died during the rescue operation. Since then, crews have been focused on the removal of bodies.
An initial probe into the cause of the disaster pointed to vibrations from four giant generators on the upper floors, which are believed to have triggered the collapse.
tm/slk (AFP, AP)