Factory collapse

Death toll mounts to 45 in Lahore factory collapse

LAHORE - More bodies of the victims of the Sundar Industrial Factory tragedy were recovered early on Saturday, raising the death toll to 45.

Rescuers are of the view that there are still chances of survival of the victims. A worker trapped under the debris has contacted his family by phone. Relatives of the victims are praying for the safety of their loved ones. Rescue activities using heavy machinery have been expedited.

The body of the owner, Rana Ashraf, has also been recovered. Rescue officials said that over a hundred survivors had so far been pulled from the wreckage of the four-storey Rajput Polyester factory which manufactured polythene shopping bags. No part of the four-storey building remained standing after the disaster, leaving dozens of workers trapped under the debris.

It was unclear how many people were in the building when it collapsed or how many were still trapped. Soldiers and rescuers were preparing to clear the rubble in front of the factory and move towards the rear of the building where they fear they will discover more victims.

Injured survivors said that the factory’s owner, who was adding a new floor to the building, had ignored an advice from his contractor and pleas from his workers to stop construction after cracks appeared in the walls following a powerful earthquake last week. A spokesman for Rescue 1122 told the media that of the 167 people trapped in the building, 109 had been rescued. Most of them had minor injuries.

Meanwhile, an 18-year-old youth, Shahid, was recovered alive from the debris of the factory after 51 hours of the tragedy on Friday evening. The Lahore DCO, Captain (retired) Usman, said that rescue teams had recovered Shahid. “We were looking for life, and it has been proved that we have found a life,” he said.

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