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Bangladesh Rescuers Give Up On Finding Survivors Of Collapse

Apr 29, 2013
Originally published on April 30, 2013 5:57 pm

Several arrests have been made in connection with the collapse of an illegally constructed garment factory in Bangladesh last week that killed at least 380 people outside the capital, Dhaka. Meanwhile, rescuers say they have given up hope of finding anyone else alive.

Mohammed Sohel Rana, the owner of the destroyed eight-story Rana Plaza, was arrested Sunday near the border. Reuters says he was "apparently trying to flee to India."

The news agency says: "Those being held face charges of faulty construction and causing unlawful death. Bangladesh does carry out the death penalty for murder and for most serious categories of manslaughter."

Rana's father, Abdul Khaleque, who Reuters says is listed in documents as the building's official owner, was among those arrested on suspicion of aiding Rana.

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation says:

"Rana was brought to the Dhaka Metropolitan Magistrate's Court in a bullet-proof vest, and led away to an unknown detention place after the magistrate granted a police request to hold him longer before filing formal charges. The crimes he is accused of [carry] a maximum punishment of seven years. More charges could be added later."

According to The Associated Press, Rana Plaza was illegally constructed. Employees there had reported cracks in the walls and floor a day before the collapse, but reportedly were told by factory managers to continue working or risk losing pay.

The AP reports that a judge in Dhaka on Monday has given police 15 days to interrogate Rana. Lawyers and protesters outside the courtroom where Rana appeared chanted "hang him," according to Reuters.

Since Wednesday, rescuers have worked with heavy machinery and even their bare hands to pull survivors and bodies from the wreckage. More than 3,000 workers are thought to have been in the building when it collapsed. Authorities say 2,500 are known to have survived.

Army spokesman Shahinul Islam told the AP that rescuers were still hoping to extract survivors, but Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed Khan, chief of the fire brigade at the scene, said there was little hope of finding anyone alive.

"Our men went inside and saw some dead bodies in the ground floor. But no one was seen alive," he said.

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