The death toll in the Bangladesh building collapse rose to 244 Thursday night as rescuers continue to search through rubble for survivors. National news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha reports the leader of the search, Maj. Gen. Abul Hassan Sarwardy, said about 2,013 people have been rescued so far. More than 700 people were injured.
Witness report cracks appeared in the 8-story Rana Plaza building on Tuesday, but most business owners ignored concerns about the safety of the building and ordered employees to return for work on Wednesday. A bank confirms it sent employees home after the cracks were reported. None of the bank employees were inside the building when it collapsed Wednesday morning.
In addition to the bank, Rana Plaza housed about 300 stores and 5 garment factories. The factories alone employ about 2,500 people. Factory owners say they were told by the owners of the building that cracks in the structure were not a safety concern.
Rana Plaza owners and the factory owners have been ordered to appear in court on April 30. Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir says the building was “not built in compliance with the (safety) rules and regulations.” "Stern legal actions will be taken against the people who built the structure defying the codes or laws,” he said.
Rana Plaza is located in Savar, an area about 19 miles outside the capital of Dhaka.
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