Death toll in Bangladesh building collapse rises 782
The death toll rose to 782 in a collapsed building in Bangladesh Wednesday as search efforts neared completion, officials said, dpa reported.
"The rescue crew will hopefully be able to remove all rubble from the site in two to three days," said Army Major General Hassan Suhrawardy, who is supervising the rescue operation.
The authorities handed over 580 bodies to their relatives.
The eight-storey building that housed five garment factories, a bank and several shops collapsed in Savar, 25 kilometres north-east of Dhaka, on April 24.
Soldiers, firefighters and Red Crescent volunteers were using cranes, bulldozers, cameras and sniffer dogs to search for bodies.
More than 2,400 people were injured in the disaster that put Bangladesh under pressure to meet international labour standards for its garment industry, which accounts for 79 per cent of the country's export earnings.
Police have arrested the building's owners, as well as the owners of the factories housed in it, for negligence.
The building had been evacuated due to structural cracks, but the managers reportedly forced employees back to work on the day of the collapse.