[Rescuers are seen pulling out a woman alive from the debris of Rana Plaza in Savar. Photo: STAR]
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The death toll from Savar building collapse reached to 175 Thursday morning as the rescuers continued their frantic effort to save those trapped inside the rubble of the building.
Wali Ashraf Khan, an inspector of Detective Branch of police who has been acting as the in-charge of the control room opened for counting the bodies, confirmed the rise in death toll.
Of the dead victims, 138 have been identified so far.
Visiting the place around 9:50am, State Minister for LGRD and Cooperatives Jahangir Kabir Nanok asked the authorities concerned to take all necessary steps to rescue the trapped ones.
The country is observing a national mourning day on Thursday in memory of the Savar victims.
Rana Plaza, a nine-storey building, housing five garment factories, a shopping complex and a branch of Brac Bank collapsed Wednesday morning, trapping inside a huge number of people.
Army, police, Rapid Action Battalion personnel, fire brigade workers and volunteers were found digging through the debris in a frantic search for survivors.
Thursday morning three people were pulled out of the debris alive, reported our correspondent covering the event.
Earlier, more than 1,200 injured people were rescued.
Rescuers located 25 people alive trapped inside the sandwiched building in the eastern part.
Four people including a woman were also spotted alive at the fifth floor of the building. They were trapped under a pillar.
One of the trapped people termed Babul, a rescuer, as his father and urged him to rescue him, if necessary, cutting his legs which were trapped under pillar.
The rescuers could also hear the screams of trapped people coming out from the gap of the shattered building.
They are shouting for help and some for oxygen.
Nobody can actually say how many are trapped.
The rescue operation is now turning into a race against time. The entire nine-storey is sandwiched into a two-storey height. How to reach the bottom without upsetting the structure now poses the main challenge.
Thousands of people thronged the scene after the disaster. Many of them were in tears without having any clue where to look for their loved ones.
The ill-fated building had no approval from Rajdhani Unnayan Kartripakkha (Rajuk) that authorises the construction of buildings.
The country is observing a national mourning day Thursday in memory of the victims of the Savar tragedy.
Special prayers are being offered in mosques, temples, pagodas and other places of worship for the salvation of their departed souls.
The government on Wednesday donated Tk 55 lakh to the victims.
The family of each deceased would get Tk 20,000 while every injured person would receive Tk 5,000.
On Tuesday morning, some cracks developed on some pillars and a few floors of the building following a jolt, causing panic among the people working there. They rushed out of the building and some even got injured in the process, said a number of garment workers and locals.
The industrial police visited the building that day and asked them [the building authorities] not to open the building. But the warnings and instructions were ignored.
Workers of at least two garment factories at Rana Plaza were forced to join their workplaces following a false assurance on the building’s safety from a local engineer, relatives of the victims alleged.
Five factories housed in the building employed a total of 3,122 workers, according to Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association.