DHAKA — At least 80 people have been killed and many more are feared trapped after an eight-storey building collapsed on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka, government officials say.
Frantic efforts are under way to rescue those beneath the debris. At least 200 were injured by the collapse.
The army is helping with the rescue operation in the Savar area.
Building collapses are common in Bangladesh where many multi-storey blocks are built in violation of rules.
The eight-storey building contained a clothing factory, a bank and several other shops. It collapsed during the morning rush hour.
Many people have gathered near the scene looking for friends and relatives.
“My friends have rushed to the scene of the building collapse to give blood. They say it’s chaos down there,” Dhaka resident Tahsin Mahmoo told the BBC.
Bangladeshi garment workers assist a survivor onto a length of textile to be used as an evacuation slide Lengths of textile were used to help some survivors out of the building
It is not yet clear what caused the collapse but local media reports said a crack was detected in the block on Tuesday.
Rescue workers are using concrete cutters and cranes to dig through the rubble, our correspondent says.
One doctor at a nearby hospital said it “could not handle” the volume of casualties coming in.
“I have not seen so many patients being brought in like this before,” Dr. Imrul Hasan Warsi told the BBC.
Local police chief Mohammad Asaduzzaman told the Reuters news agency that factory owners appeared to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after the crack was detected.
Police told local media that the rear of the building suddenly started to collapse this morning and within a short time the whole structure – except the main pillar and parts of the front wall – had caved-in, triggering panic.
Only the ground floor of the Rana Plaza in Sava remained intact after the collapse, officials said, as army and fire service rescuers equipped with concrete cutters and cranes dug through rubble to pull out trapped people. Many onlookers also joined the effort using their bare hands. (BBC)