Rescuers in Bangladesh have found a woman survivor buried under the wreckage of a garment factory that collapsed 17 days ago, killing more than 1000 people. Reshma Begum, a seamstress who is married with a young son, was found trapped in a mosque in the building’s basement after about 391 hours.
“I heard voices of the rescue workers for the past several days,” Begum told private Somoy TV station from her hospital bed. “I kept hitting the wreckage with sticks and rods just to attract their attention. No one heard me. It was so bad for me. I never dreamed I’d see the daylight again.”
She added: “There was some dried food around me. I ate the dried food for 15 days. The last two days I had nothing but water. I used to drink only a limited quantity of water to save it. I had some bottles of water around me.”
The April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza complex, about 20 miles northwest of Dhaka, was the world’s worst industrial accident since the Bhopal disaster in India in 1984, Reuters reported. The death toll reached at least 1,038 on Friday.
Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper said the first sign there was a survivor came when a rescuer heard groans coming from the basement at about 3:15 p.m. local time on Friday (5:15 a.m. ET).
A senior rescue official said Begum was first spotted by a 15-year-old volunteer helping at the site.
Bangladesh’s Independent newspaper quoted a rescuer who told local television that “as we were clearing rubble, we called out if anyone was alive.”
“Then we heard her saying, ‘please save me, please save me.’ Since then she has been talking to us,” he added.
She was given water and food as rescuers tried to reach her, the Star newspaper said, and she was freed just over an hour later.