Bangladesh building collapse toll climbs to 433
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Rescuers found more bodies in the concrete debris of a collapsed garment factory building Thursday and authorities say it may take another five days to clear the rubble.
In addition to the 433 confirmed dead, police report that 149 people are still missing in what has become the worst disaster for Bangladesh's $20 billion-a-year garment industry.
Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hassan Suhrawardy, the commander of the area's army garrison supervising the rescue work, dismissed reports that up to 1,000 people were missing and accusations from some relatives that authorities are hiding the bodies to keep the death toll low.
"Don't listen to such rumors," he told reporters.
A mass Muslim funeral was held Wednesday for 34 victims whose bodies were too battered or decomposed to be identified. Cemetery workers have dug several long rows of graves where scores more unidentified bodies are expected to be buried in the coming days.
Suhrawardy said Thursday that 20 bodies were recovered overnight, bringing the death toll to 430. Several more bodies were recovered throughout the day. Rescue workers believe more bodies are buried on the building's ground level, and were using cranes and cutting machines to clear tons of rubble.