16 more bodies found under Rana Plaza rubble

Sixteen more bodies were recovered from the wreckage of Rana Plaza on Thursday as the 2nd phase of the rescue operation continued for the third consecutive day, raising the death toll in
the country’s deadliest ever building collapse to 433.
The rescuers recovered 16 more bodies from the rubble of the building till 9:40 am from 12 am the night before, sources at the coordination cell opened at the collapsed building site said.
The bodies which were recovered in the morning were sent to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH) morgue.
General Officer Commanding of the 9th Infantry Division Major General Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardi, who is in charge of coordinating the rescue operation, said so far 2870 people were recovered from the ruins of the building. Of them, 2437 were rescued alive while 433 dead, he said in a press briefing here Thursday.
Army, Navy, Air Force, Fire Service and Red Crescent personnel are taking part in the 2nd phase rescue operation
The second phase of the rescue operation using heavy cranes, cameras and trained dog squads has been going on since Tuesday midnight.
Several hundred people were seen waiting in front of the collapsed building on Thursday in search of their near and dear ones with their photographs.
Bangladesh Army on Thursday rubbished allegations of ‘hiding away’ bodies of those killed at Savar’s Rana Plaza rubble and described such claims as ‘unfortunate’.
General Officer Commanding (GOC) of Bangladesh Army’s 9th Infantry Division Major General Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy appealed in a press conference that such baseless rumours should not be paid heed to.
“Some quarters have alleged that bodies are disappearing. They are fuelling public anger by spreading rumours that actual casualties are unbelievably high,” he said.
Maj Gen Suhrawardy said these rumours were hindering rescue operations.
“By alleging that bodies are disappearing, this quarter has questioned the patriotism and honesty of the army and all those organisations and volunteers involved in the rescue.” He said this was ‘extremely unfortunate’.
The death toll in the Rana Plaza collapse stood at 429 on Thursday morning. It could still rise as rescue continued and the rubble was being cleared.
BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia on Wednesday alleged that the actual casualty was being deliberately played down.
Sarwardi, who is in charge of coordinating the rescue operation, said 149 people are still missing in the tragic incident.
The disclosure comes amidst confusion over the exact number of people who got buried under the rubble.
He said the figure was determined on the basis of a list released by the Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka. But he could not specify what the premise of such listing was.

-with The Independent input

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