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Dhaka Tribune

Rescue operation takes dramatic turn

Update : 26 Apr 2013, 07:18 PM

The rescue operation at the collapsed building site in Savar took a dramatic turn Friday afternoon when a fire service rescue team located a large group of survivors in an air pocket on the third floor of the wrecked structure.

The building which came down on Wednesday was “stacked like slices of bread,” said Manzur Ahsan, a fireman. Unable to access the lower floors, army engineers started tunneling into the wreckage from an adjoining building.

“We broke through Friday afternoon and immediately heard cries for help,” said Ahsan. “Some survivors struck the concrete with loose bricks to attract attention.”

The anxious crowd gathered outside broke into cheers as one by one 24 people were brought out alive by army and fire service personnel. By evening, more survivors had been dug out, bringing to the number of people rescued on Friday to 100. A total of 2,300 people have been rescued from the rubble. Rescuers fear hundreds may still be inside.

Among the survivors Friday was Rehana Begum, a seamstress who worked at the Ether Tex garment factory on the third floor. Even though her left arm was broken, she knew she was among the lucky ones.

“I felt I was buried alive,” Begum said. “I never thought I’d see sunlight again.”

Those rescued on Friday included two members of the industrial police: ASI Mukul and constable Rafiqul IslamThey got trapped inside the building, having come there on Wednesday morning to inspect it.

Meanwhile, rescuers traced over 100 people alive on the ground floor of the crashed building. The victims were provided with dry food and drinking water. The rescuers hoped that they will be able to pull them out by early Saturday.

Two days after the disastrous collapse of the eight-storey building here, the hope for the rescue of the trapped people is fading fast due to the slow rescue operation.

Locals and relatives of the victims said the rescue operation is getting hampered and delayed bythe lack of modern equipment.

When asked, Brig Shikdar of Ninth Infantry Division of Savar Cantonment also said the lack of modern equipment was the main reason for the slow rescue operation.

The rescuers feared that the number of victims would go up sharply as many people are still remained trapped under the debris after 60 hours.

However, they were conducting the rescue operation with light equipment as they wanted to rescue as many people as possible. They said they could not use heavy equipment as one can survive for 72 hours in such a situation.

Many volunteer rescuers joined the army, police BGB members and firefighters to rescue the trapped people.



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