The death toll from the disastrous building collapse here stood at 355 with the recovery of 25 more bodies from the debris of Rana Plaza on Saturday as the rescuers continued their operation.
The rescuers also recovered 26 people alive from the wreckage of the building today, sources at the Control Room opened here said. With the latest ones, they said, some 2426 people have been rescued alive since the complex collapsed on Wednesday.
They said the rescue operation was disrupted for half an hour this noon, causing sufferings to the victims’ relatives who had long been waiting at Adharchandra School ground in search of their near and dear ones.
Of the total bodies, 346 were handed over to the victims’ families, said officer-in-charge (Investigation) of Savar Police Station Shamsuzzaman.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Savar Cantonment Major General Chowdhury Hasan said those still remained trapped alive inside the collapsed building were being rescued.
The rescue operation will continue as long as the last person remained trapped but alive is rescued. He, however, declined to give any specific time when the rescue operation will come to an end.
Meanwhile, Detective Branch (DB) of Dhaka district police arrested two garment factory owners from the city’s Ramna area early Saturday in connection with the disastrous building collapse.
Almost at the same time, police detained Rana Plaza owner Sohel Rana’s wife Mitu Akhter from Shahibagh area of Savar municipality for interrogation.
Earlier, police detained four relatives of Rana on Friday for quizzing.
DB police today also arrested two civil engineers of Savar Municipality in connection with Rana Plaza collapse. They are Entemam Hossain, executive civil engineer of Savar Municipality, and his junior colleague Md Alam Miah.
Meanwhile, Dipu, 23, a salesman by profession, who precipitated in the rescue operation, went missing early Saturday when he entered the collapsed building through a hole.
Three days after the disastrous collapse of the eight-storey building, the hope for the rescue of the trapped people was fading fast due to the slow rescue operation.
Locals and relatives of the victims said the rescue operation is getting hampered and delayed for lack of modern equipment.
The rescuers feared that the number of victims would go up sharply as some 500 people are still believed to have remained missing.
Meanwhile, five people suffered bullet wounds as police fired shots on agitating garment workers near Rana Plaza here in the morning.
Police said the trouble started at Bank Town near Rana Plaza around 9.30 am when a group of RMG workers, angered by slow rescue operation in the collapsed building, tried to break the police cordon.
Later, the law enforcers fired some 50 rounds of rubber bullets and lobbed 20 teargas canisters to disperse them, leaving the five injured.
The security on the Rana Plaza compound has been beefed up following the incident, police said.
The ill-constructed building had accommodated at least five garment factories and some 300 shops with nearly 4,000 workers. However, it is not still clear as to how many workers were at their workplaces on the fateful day.
The building, ‘Rana Plaza’, which developed cracks on Tuesday morning, collapsed after a big bang around 9.00 am on Wednesday.
Many survivors alleged that the owners of their garment factories had forced them to go back to work on Wednesday morning against their will.
Five cases were filed on behalf of Labour and Employment Ministry with the Labour Court against the owners of the building and the garment factories housed in the complex.