Savar: Bangladeshi rescuers on Sunday launched the second phase of rescue operations, as they found little evidence of survivors under tonnes of debris of the 8-storey building that collapsed this week, leaving 362 people dead. "I would like to tell you, we are getting little rhythm of life under the debris. Even if some people are alive they are not responding," said Major General Hassan Sarwardy, Commander of the rescue campaign.
Emerging from a coordination meeting of the rescue agencies, he said rescuers were asked to come out from the debris shortly. The death toll now stands at 362 while 2,436 people have been rescued so far.
"We have now unanimously decided to enter into the second phase of the salvage campaign using heavy equipment like cranes (to remove the rubbles) instead of manual efforts (to rescue survivors)," said Sarwardy, flanked by chiefs of the fire service and other rescue agencies, during a briefing.
He said that rescuers would now enter the rubbles on crane boxes, creating boreholes from the top and pull out survivors, if any, as it appears impossible to penetrate the concrete ruins manually using rod cutters and hand saws.
"But rescuers will select calculated sites for boreholes , cautiously entering inside the rubble, so that the lives of survivors or their own are not in danger," said Sarwardy, who commands the army's Savar-based 9th division. The briefing came as rescuers found five more survivors overnight and said chances of getting more survivors looks dim as they might have died by now or lost consciousness making it difficult to locate them.
Witnesses said army troops and fire fighters joined law enforcement agencies to set up red flags around the collapsed structure ahead of mobilising cranes and bulldozers to remove debris.