The Herald Bulletin

Morning Update

Nation & World

April 24, 2013

87 dead in Bangladesh garment factory collapse

SAVAR, Bangladesh —  An eight-story building housing several garment factories collapsed near Bangladesh's capital Wednesday morning, killing at least 87 people and trapping many more in a jumbled mess of shattered concrete and bricks, officials said.

The collapse stirred memories of a fatal fire at a garment factory in November that killed 112 people and raised an outcry about safety in the nation's $20 billion-a-year textile industry, which produces clothing for global fashion brands worn around the world.

Workers in the Rana Plaza building said it had developed such severe cracks the day before that it had been reported on local news channels. They hesitated to enter the building Wednesday morning, said Abdur Rahim, who worked in a garment factory on the fifth floor.

But a manager from the factory assured them there was no problem, so they went inside, he said.

"We started working. After about an hour or so the building collapsed suddenly," he said. He next remembered regaining consciousness outside the building.

Among the businesses in the building were Phantom Apparels Ltd., New Wave Style Ltd., New Wave Bottoms Ltd. and New Wave Brothers Ltd. garment factories, companies that make clothing for brands including Benetton, The Children's Place and Dress Barn. Workers said they didn't know what specific clothing brands were being made in the building because labels are attached after the products are finished.

Sumi, a 25-year-old worker who goes by one name, said she was sewing jeans on the fifth floor with at least 400 others when the building fell. "It collapsed all of a sudden," she said. "No shaking, no indication. It just collapsed on us."

She survived because she managed to reach a hole in the building through which rescuers pulled her out.

Tens of thousands of people gathered at the site, some of them weeping survivors, some searching for family members. Firefighters and soldiers using drilling machines and cranes worked together with local volunteers in the search for other survivors.

An enormous section of the concrete structure appeared to have splintered like twigs. Colorful sheets of fabric were tied to upper floors of the wreckage, presumably so those inside could climb or slide down and escape.

An arm jutted out of one section of rubble. The lifeless body of a woman covered in dust could be seen in another. A firefighter carried the body of what appeared to be a teenager from the area.

Rahim said his mother and father, who worked with him in the factory, were trapped inside.

"I have no idea what is going on," he said.

Mosammat Khurshida wailed as she looked for her husband. "He came to work in the morning. I can't find him," she said. "I don't know where he is. He does not pick his phone. Oh Allah, what will I do now?"

In addition to the factories, the building also housed a bank and shops.

Zahidur Rahman, director of public relations at Enam Medical College and Hospital, said by Wednesday evening 87 people had been confirmed dead in the collapse at the building in the Dhaka suburb of Savar. Brig. Gen. Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder said another 600 survivors had been rescued.

Reports indicated the death toll could rise.

"We had sent two people inside the building and we could rescue at least 20 people alive. They also told us that at least 100 to 150 people are injured and about 50 dead people are still trapped inside this floor," said Mohammad Humayun, a supervisor at one of the garment factories.

The collapse happened about 8:30 a.m. and since garment factories in the area routinely work 24 hours a day, it appeared likely that the four housed in the building were staffed at the time.

The November fire at the Tazreen garment factory drew international attention to the conditions workers toil under in Bangladesh's textile industry. The country has about 4,000 garment factories and exports clothes to leading Western retailers. The industry wields vast power in the South Asian nation.

Tazreen lacked emergency exits and its owner said only three floors of the eight-story building were legally built. Surviving employees said gates had been locked and managers had told them to go back to work after the fire alarm went off.

Clothes with Disney, Wal-Mart and other western labels were found at that factory.

 

1
Text Only
Nation & World
  • GM sales eyed for impact of ignition switch recall

    As General Motors shows off its newest cars and trucks in New York this week, analysts are watching for signs that consumers are shying away from the ones sitting on dealer lots.

    April 15, 2014

  • Solemn tributes mark Boston Marathon bombing

    Survivors, first responders and family members of those killed in the Boston Marathon bombing marked the anniversary Tuesday with tributes that combined sorrow over the loss of innocent victims with pride over Boston's resilience in the face of a terror attack.

    April 15, 2014

  • First women move to Army platoon artillery jobs

     Under a canopy of trees on the edge of a large field, soldiers from Bravo Battery are lying in a circle as they pore over targeting charts. Nearby, others are preparing the howitzer cannons as helicopters swoop overhead. At the edge of the circle, the platoon leader watches as the field artillerymen go through their training exercise.

    April 15, 2014

  • Russia tests Obama's ability to stop its advances

     With the White House asserting that Russia is stoking instability in eastern Ukraine, President Barack Obama is once again faced with the complicated reality of following through on his tough warnings against overseas provocations.

    April 15, 2014

  • Malaysia jet search area too deep for submarine

    The search area for the missing Malaysian jet has proved too deep for a robotic submarine which was hauled back to the surface of the Indian Ocean less than half way through its first seabed hunt for wreckage and the all-important black boxes, authorities said on Tuesday.

    April 14, 2014

  • Rocket leak delays space station delivery launch

    A space station cargo ship will remain Earthbound for a while longer because of a rocket leak.

    April 14, 2014

  • Whitefish shortage causing Passover meal problems

    A shortage of whitefish in the Great Lakes region resulting partly from the winter deep freeze is coming at an inconvenient time for Jewish families: the Passover holiday, when demand is high because it's a key ingredient in a traditional recipe.

    April 14, 2014

  • Post, Guardian win Pulitzers for NSA revelations

    The Washington Post and The Guardian won the Pulitzer Prize in public service Monday for revealing the U.S. government's sweeping surveillance efforts in stories based on thousands of secret documents handed over by National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.

    April 14, 2014

  • Police seek answers after 7 dead babies found

    The discovery of seven dead babies in cardboard boxes in a Utah garage has police desperately seeking answers from the mother and other family members about how such a tragedy unfolded over a decade with no one noticing.

    April 14, 2014

  • Ukraine asks for UN peacekeepers in restive east

    Ukraine's acting President Oleksandr Turchynov on Monday called for the deployment of United Nations peacekeeping troops in the east of the country, where pro-Russian insurgents have occupied buildings in nearly 10 cities.

    April 14, 2014

More Resources from The Herald Bulletin
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Helium debate
Helium