A six-story building housing shops and offices collapsed in the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka today with about 100 workers inside, killing at least 16 people and burying dozens of surrounding shanty homes.
Rescue workers pulled 14 bodies from the rubble of the building in Dhaka’s central Tejgaon industrial district, Brig. General Nizam Ahmed, who was overseeing the operation, said. Another two died on the way to hospital, Ahmed said.
Local resident Mizanur Rahman, who lives nearby, said that most of those injured or killed appeared to be construction workers who were adding a new story to the 30-year old building, which was being converted into a 500-bed medical centre.
Witnesses said passing pedestrians were also among the victims, which included dozens of injured who were taken to hospital.
More than two dozen tin-roofed, one-room shanty homes were also buried by the 20,000 square foot building as it collapsed, Ahmed said.
Rescuers feared a dozen slum dwellers, mainly family members of day labourers who were working elsewhere at the time, were trapped inside.
Soldiers and fire fighters used bulldozers, hammers and crowbars to clear and sift through the rubble of the building looking for survivors or bodies.