Over 80 Believed Dead, Many Injured, in Bangladesh Collapse

Eight-story building collapsed trapping many garment factory workers

 

 
 
 

JULHAS ALAM, Associated Press | | Wednesday, April 24, 2013


SAVAR, Bangladesh (AP) — An eight-story building housing several garment factories collapsed near Bangladesh's capital Wednesday morning, killing at least 87 people and trapping many more in a jumbled mess of shattered concrete and bricks, officials said.

The collapse stirred memories of a fatal fire at a garment factory in November that killed 112 people and raised an outcry about safety in the nation's $20 billion-a-year textile industry, which produces clothing for global fashion brands worn around the world.

Workers in the Rana Plaza building said it had developed such severe cracks the day before that it had been reported on local news channels. They hesitated to enter the building Wednesday morning, said Abdur Rahim, who worked in a garment factory on the fifth floor.

But a manager from the factory assured them there was no problem, so they went inside, he said.

"We started working. After about an hour or so the building collapsed suddenly," he said. He next remembered regaining consciousness outside the building.

Among the businesses in the building were Phantom Apparels Ltd., New Wave Style Ltd., New Wave Bottoms Ltd. and New Wave Brothers Ltd. garment factories, companies that make clothing for brands including Benetton, The Children's Place and Dress Barn. Workers said they didn't know what specific clothing brands were being made in the building because labels are attached after the products are finished.

Sumi, a 25-year-old worker who goes by one name, said she was sewing jeans on the fifth floor with at least 400 others when the building fell. "It collapsed all of a sudden," she said. "No shaking, no indication. It just collapsed on us."

She survived because she managed to reach a hole in the building through which rescuers pulled her out.

Tens of thousands of people gathered at the site, some of them weeping survivors, some searching for family members. Firefighters and soldiers using drilling machines and cranes worked together with local volunteers in the search for other survivors.

An enormous section of the concrete structure appeared to have splintered like twigs. Colorful sheets of fabric were tied to upper floors of the wreckage, presumably so those inside could climb or slide down and escape.

An arm jutted out of one section of rubble. The lifeless body of a woman covered in dust could be seen in another. A firefighter carried the body of what appeared to be a teenager from the area.

Rahim said his mother and father, who worked with him in the factory, were trapped inside.

"I have no idea what is going on," he said.

Mosammat Khurshida wailed as she looked for her husband. "He came to work in the morning. I can't find him," she said. "I don't know where he is. He does not pick his phone. Oh Allah, what will I do now?"

In addition to the factories, the building also housed a bank and shops.

Zahidur Rahman, director of public relations at Enam Medical College and Hospital, said by Wednesday evening 87 people had been confirmed dead in the collapse at the building in the Dhaka suburb of Savar. Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder said another 600 survivors had been rescued.

Reports indicated the death toll could rise.

"We had sent two people inside the building and we could rescue at least 20 people alive. They also told us that at least 100 to 150 people are injured and about 50 dead people are still trapped inside this floor," said Mohammad Humayun, a supervisor at one of the garment factories.

The collapse happened about 8:30 a.m. and since garment factories in the area routinely work 24 hours a day, it appeared likely that the four housed in the building were staffed at the time.

The November fire at the Tazreen garment factory drew international attention to the conditions workers toil under in Bangladesh's textile industry. The country has about 4,000 garment factories and exports clothes to leading Western retailers. The industry wields vast power in the South Asian nation.

Tazreen lacked emergency exits and its owner said only three floors of the eight-story building were legally built. Surviving employees said gates had been locked and managers had told them to go back to work after the fire alarm went off.

Clothes with Disney, Wal-Mart and other western labels were found at that factory.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.



Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, international EMS, collapse, building collapse, Bangladesh

 
What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS





 

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Progress

Follow in the footsteps of these inspirational leaders of EMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Four Killed in New Mexico Medical Plane Crash

Crash near fairgrounds claims patient and crew of three.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Texas Ambulance Involved in Crash

Odessa ambulance and car collide during response.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Las Vegas Fire, AMR Reach New Deal

Tentative agreement reached over ambulance calls.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Fire Damages Several Homes in California Earthquake

Four homes destroyed and others damaged after quake rattles Napa.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Where in the World of EMS is A.J.? Scranton

JEMS Editor-in-Chief visits his hometown of Scranton, Pa.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Over 100 Injured in California Earthquake

172 patients treated at Napa hospital after 6.0-magnitude earthquake.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Numerous Rescues during Arizona Flooding

Severe flooding across the region prompted several rescues.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >