The eight-storey building on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, caved in on Wednesday, leaving a chaotic mass of broken concrete and twisted metal.
It housed garment factories employing about 2,500 workers, many of whom had been uneasy about entering the building after cracks appeared on Tuesday.
The resulting catastrophe is the latest to befall Bangladesh’s accident-prone garment industry, which employs more than 4 million people — most of them women — but regularly comes under scrutiny for its slipshod safety standards.
It also raises tough questions for the Western brands that have their products made in the South Asian country’s low-cost factories.
The death toll rose to 244, Dhaka District Police Chief Habibur Rahman said last night. More than 1,000 people have been injured and an unknown number — some dead, others still alive — remain buried within the structure’s tangled remains.
“There’s still people alive in there,” said Col Shaikh Jaman, a military official involved in the rescue effort. “It is difficult to say how many. We are moving chamber to chamber looking for people.”
He said about 1,400 people had been rescued so far.
244 The number of people killed in the building collapse
1000 Number of victims injured in the mishap
1400 Total number of people that were rescued from the debris