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Rescuers give up hope for survivors in Bangladesh building collapse

Last Updated: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 21:04

Savar: Rescuers today gave up hope of finding more survivors from the eight-storey building that collapsed six days ago from where 388 bodies were retrieved so far while Bangladesh High Court ordered seizure of the owner`s property.

"It is very unlikely that someone is still alive under the rubble after nearly 148 hours of the building collapse ... But Allah knows better," commander of the salvage operations Major General Chowdhury Hassan Sarwardy told reporters at the collapse site in Dhaka`s suburb.

He said rescuers recovered three more bodies this morning and "until the last body, dead or alive, is retrieved our (salvage) efforts will continue ceaselessly". He added that over 2,800 people were rescued alive from under tonnes of debris at the collapse site.

His comments came as the second phase of the salvage operation was underway.

Heavy cranes continued to be used for the second day after the first phase in which rescuers retrieved survivors and bodies manually while keeping the ruins intact.

Fire brigade officials said they estimated that as high as 3,200 people were inside the building while over 2,800 survivors and bodies were retrieved since the collapse of the building which housed five garment factories.

Under the second phase, rescuers brought sensors and small cameras to detect bodies inside the huge rubble or in between sandwiched floors while Sarwardy said two army sniffer dogs were kept ready to be engaged in tracking down bodies but they awaited opinions if there was any religious restriction in using the animals for the task.

The High Court, meanwhile, ordered "immediate" confiscation of the property of the already arrested owner of the building as hundreds of protesters took to the street for the fourth consecutive day demanding death penalty for him. They clashed with police leaving scores injured.

The court fixed May 8 for further order on the issue.

A lower court earlier, however, placed Mohammed Sohel Rana under a 15-day police remand for interrogation to be charged for involuntary murders of several hundred people.

The building, that also housed a branch of a private bank and some 300 shops, developed cracks on April 22 and collapsed suddenly after a big bang around on April 24. Regulatory authorities said the structure was built defying safety rules.

First Published: Tuesday, April 30, 2013 - 21:04

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