Bangladesh collapse: 397 dead, owner arrested on India border
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The death toll in the worst building collapse in Bangladesh history today rose to 375 even as the fugitive owner of the 8-storey structure was arrested from Benapole frontiers while attempting to flee to India.
Sohel Rana was arrested by the country's elite anti-crime Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) from Benapole, one of the 14 land ports with India, making this afternoon's arrest the fifth in the case.
"RAB arrested Sohel Rana from Benapole frontiers as he tried to flee the country," state minister for local government Jahangir Kabir Nanak told newsmen.
Rana was later brought from Benapole in Jessore district to Dhaka in a helicopter.
The structure, that housed five garment factories, a bank branch and around three hundred shops employing thousands of workers, collapsed on April 24 leaving at least 375 people dead, a day after authorities issued a warning regarding cracks in the building.
According to officials, Rana erected the building defying safety rules and proper clearance.
Meanwhile, Bangladeshi rescuers launched the second phase of rescue operations, as they found little evidence of survivors under tonnes of debris.
So far, around 2,443 survivors have been rescued from beneath the rubble with nine persons pulled out alive today.
"I would like to tell you, we are getting little rhythm of life under the debris. Even if some people are alive they are not responding," said Major General Hassan Sarwardy, Commander of the rescue campaign.
"We have now unanimously decided to enter into the second phase of the salvage campaign using heavy equipment like cranes (to remove the rubbles) instead of manual efforts (to rescue survivors)," said Sarwardy during a briefing after a coordination meeting of the rescue agencies.
Rescuers said they were trying to pull out other survivors manually under an extended first phase of the rescue drill making their ways through a borehole. Rescuers would now enter the rubbles on crane boxes, creating boreholes from the top and pull out survivors, if any, as it appears impossible to penetrate the concrete ruins manually using rod cutters and hand saws, he said.