At least 87 people have been killed and many more are feared dead after an eight-story building collapsed in the outskirts of Dhaka, Bangladesh.
A massive rescue mission is now under way. Officials said on Wednesday that hundreds of people were still trapped in the rubble. Up to 2,000 people were in the building when it fell, according to fire crews.
Only the ground floor of the Rana Plaza in the Savar district, which also housed a garment factory, remained intact after the collapse at 8:30am local time on Wednesday morning, said the officials.
Al Jazeera’s correspondent in Dhaka, who is not being named because of reporting restrictions, described the scene as chaotic.
“It is a scene of complete mayhem and chaos, hundreds of people are trapped under the rubble and are still being pulled out,” she said.
“The army has taken over rescuing people from the disaster. The army, police and volunteers are working collectively to pull people out of the rubble.”
The correspondent said there had been some reports that cracks were seen forming in the building on Tuesday.
Mohammad Asaduzzaman, in charge of the area’s police station, said factory owners appear to have ignored a warning not to allow their workers into the building after a crack was detected in the block.
Abdur Rahim, who worked in a garment factory on the fifth floor, said a manager assured them there was no problem with the building.
“There were some crack at the second floor, but my factory was on the fifth floor,” he said.
“The owner of the building told our floor manager that it is not a problem and so you can open the factory.
“We started working. After about an hour or so, the building collapsed suddenly.”
Doctors said that hundreds of people had received treatment for their injuries.