Inside the hell

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The foot of a deceased victim sticks out of the rubble of Rana Plaza yesterday waiting to be recovered. Photo: Rashed shumon

Mahmudur suddenly felt a jolt. Within a moment, he noticed his colleagues running back and forth, screaming. It took Mahmudur little time to understand that something ominous was going to happen.
As soon as he along with others moved 20 feet towards the staircases, the building began collapsing, giving him the feeling of a lift going down.
“Darkness engulfed the entire place with thick clouds of debris. I heard screams around me. My heart started pounding,” said Mahmudur, a quality inspector of Ethar Tex Ltd on the fifth floor.
“I lay down near a pillar, thinking that perhaps I was going to die. We were being roasted inside,” he said. The roof curved and fell on him, leaving a space of three feet above him.
After sometime, a ray of hope emerged when he saw a faint light. It was a mobile phone light of one of his colleagues. He found a few more colleagues and together they pondered how they could find a way out of the horror.
“A lot of things and memories came across my mind. I was thinking about my wife and children,” Mahmudur said at the emergency unit of Enam Medical College and Hospital.
Many of his colleagues tried to make phone calls but to no avail, due to poor network coverage. Some lucky ones, however, called their loved ones seeking help.
After an anguished wait of around five hours, rescuers finally pulled them up. “It was like getting a second life,” Mahmudur said, his eyes brimming with tears.
Although there was no exact number of people who got trapped inside the collapsed building, most of the trapped ones had a feeling of near death. A number of people were still stuck inside the building till the filing of this report.
Shipu Begum, a sewing operator of Phantom Apparels who got trapped on the fourth floor, said: “I saw the hole of an adjust fan around 20 feet away. With every ounce of energy in me, I crawled to the hole.”
Some rescuers saw her after she started screaming for help, she said, adding that a few more workers came out through the same hole.
The situation of Kamruzzaman, DGM of Ether Garments, was somewhat different. He was trapped for five hours on the sixth floor. There were around 12 people with him. There was a caved-in ceiling two to three feet above them. Around them were a few bodies on which pillars had crashed.
“We were restless and afraid in the beginning, but then we realised we were lucky to be alive,” he said.
In the darkness, they distributed the bottle of water one of them had. “Kneeling the whole time, we offered Johr and Nafl prayers in the hope of being rescued,” he said.
Later they crawled towards the staircase, which was around 25 feet away from them.
“We could see a shaft of light coming through a crack. We shouted through the crack, and after a while, rescuers came and pulled us out one after another around 2:00pm,” he said, as he received treatment at Enam Medical College and Hospital.

Source: The Daily Star

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