The confirmed death toll from Bangladesh’s worst industrial disaster approached 600 on Sunday after dozens of bodies were pulled from the wreckage of a nine-storey building housing factories, the army said.
The building housing five garment factories collapsed near the capital Dhaka on April 24, trapping more than 3,000 people. Some 2,437 people have been rescued, Lieutenant Imran Khan of the army control room said.
Hundreds of distraught relatives gathered at the site on the 12th day, as cranes and bulldozers cut through a mountain of concrete and mangled steel.
Khan said recovery efforts had gathered pace and the confirmed death toll now stands at 590.
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Officials said the bodies pulled out have missing limbs in some cases or have decomposed, delaying identification.
“We’ve identified only a handful of them by their mobile phones that were found in their pockets or identity cards given by the factories,” deputy administrator of Dhaka district, Zillur Rahman Chowdhury, told AFP.
He said more bodies were expected to be found in the rubble as the stench of decaying bodies coming from the rubble remained strong.
The building architect, Masood Reza, said he designed the structure to house a shopping mall and offices, not factories.
Police have arrested 12 people, including the plaza’s owner and four garment factory owners, for forcing people to work on April 24, even though cracks appeared in the structure the previous day.