As the death toll from the collapsed four-storey building near Lahore rose to 37 on Friday, rescuers managed to pull out a young man from the rubble nearly 50 hours after the incident with hopes kindled of finding more survivors.
With the rescue effort stretching into its third evening on Friday, a miracle happened. After a slab of concrete was moved, a young man, who had been trapped under the rubble for over 50 hours, crawled through a narrow opening.
The survivor identified himself as 18-year-old Shahid. Before he passed out, he managed to tell rescue workers that there were other survivors waiting for help.
Lahore DCO Capt (retd) Mohammad Usman said that Shahid had suffered a leg injury and had been shifted to a hospital for treatment.
Earlier in the day, at least 14 more bodies were pulled out from the debris of the Rajput Polyester Factory in Sundar Industrial Estate, nearly 20 kilometres south of Lahore on Friday. Nearly 300 rescuers from the Rescue 1122, army, civil administration and police used heavy machinery to remove concrete and cut through steel on Friday, while 300 more rescuers remained on standby. They were joined by a 50-member team of experts from the Capital Development Authority.
DCO Usman said that they had entered the ground level of the building and were working their way towards the building’s rear. Rescue workers said that they were focusing on areas where they believed was a greater possibility to find more survivors.
During the day, when rescuers lifted a slab, they found the body of the factory’s owner Rana Ashraf. The body of the factory’s general manager, Shakoor, and three others was also found nearby.
Police handed over the bodies of the deceased to their families for burial.
The four-storey building, which housed a polythene bag manufacturing factory, had collapsed on Wednesday. It was unclear how many people were in the building when it collapsed or how many -- dead or alive -- may still be trapped, but officials have said at least 150 people were in the factory when it came down.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 7th, 2015.
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