Rescuers go for heavy machines
Major General Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy informs journalists Sunday morning about the decision to use powerful equipment to rescue those trapped inside the rubbles of Rana Plaza in Savar. Photo: TV grab
Fifth day into the deadly collapse of Rana Plaza in Savar, the rescuers decided Sunday morning to deploy powerful equipment to lift concrete slabs to pull out those trapped inside the rubble.
The application of heavy equipments will be a combination of manual rescue efforts for the first time since the rescue operation began Wednesday morning when the nine-storey building caved in, killing a few hundred and trapping thousand others.
The army team, which is coordinating the rescue operation, has however yet to start using those till filing of this report at 12:15pm.
The objective of the application is to save anyone still trapped alive beneath the sandwiched floors of the building, Maj Gen Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy of the 9th Infantry Division, said while revealing the decision taken at a meeting of the rescuers comprising firefighters, armed forces and volunteers.
At least 362 people were killed in the building collapse, he informed.
Rana Plaza housing half a dozen readymade garment factories on its top floors, caved in on Wednesday after factory owners forced several thousand workers to come to work despite the cracks developed in its pillars the previous day.
The decision of using heavy equipment came during a meeting of rescuers comprising firefighters, armed forces and volunteers.
The building with each floor having an area of around 24,500 square feet collapsed on several thousand workers apparently due to poor construction without approval of competent authorities.
Lt Col Md Moin Uddin, commanding officer of the third Engineering Battalion of the Savar Cantonment, earlier said they have the required equipment for the removal of rubble and positioned three high-power cranes around the disaster site.
They have hired three cranes — one from Orion Group having 160 tonnes of lifting capacity, one each with 60-tonne capacity from Beximco and Energypac.
On Saturday, rescuers pulled out 32 people alive entering different floors of the sandwiched building making bores at several points.
A number of firemen and voluntary rescuers fell sick after having entered into the deep wreckage due to stomach-turning stench of the decomposed bodies, heat and suffocation.
The entire operation for search, rescue and removal has been planned at three phases.