DHAKA — A woman has been pulled alive from the ruins of an eight-storey building that collapsed in a suburb of Bangladesh’s capital, Dhaka, 17 days ago.
Rescuers said the woman, named Reshma, was found in the remains of the second floor of the Rana Plaza after they heard her crying: “Please save me.”
She has been taken to hospital, but is not thought to have serious injuries.
The dramatic news came after the army said more than 1,000 people were now known to have died in the disaster.
The death toll is expected to keep climbing, as work crews using heavy machinery have begun removing rubble from the worst-damaged areas.
Soldiers were reported to have been preparing to break through a large concrete slab at about 15:15 local time on today when the woman was discovered.
“As we were clearing rubble, we called out [to see] if anyone was alive,” one unnamed rescuer told Somoy TV. “Then we heard her saying: ‘Please save me, please save me’.”
Officers immediately ordered workers operating heavy machinery to stop.
Video and audio detection equipment was used to locate her exact position and rescuers saw a woman waving her hand. She shouted “I’m still here” and said her name was Reshma.
Within minutes, hundreds of soldiers and firefighters rushed to the scene to help clear the rubbleer rubble?
The woman said that she was not badly hurt, and she was given water and biscuits while handsaws and drilling equipment were brought in to cut through iron rods and debris.
At 16:25, the woman was pulled from the rubble and the crowd erupted in cheers, our correspondent adds.
The woman was taken to an ambulance and then rushed to the nearby Combined Military Hospital for evaluation and treatment.
Abdur Razzak, a warrant officer with the military’s engineering department who first spotted her in the wreckage, told the Associated Press that she was okay and could even walk.
Another rescuer said the woman had had access to food for the first two weeks, but that her supplies had run out two days ago.
“She said she has not eaten for the last two days. She said she has eaten some dried food like biscuits,” he told the AFP news agency. “She said she had found a safe place and found some air and light.” (BBC)