Lahore factory collapse: Search for survivors continues as death toll climbs to 45

Published November 7, 2015
Pakistan army soldiers comfort a mother crying for her missing son,  Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. Hopes are starting to fade for finding more survivors in the rubble of a four-story factory which collapsed this week killings dozens of people left many injured.─AP
Pakistan army soldiers comfort a mother crying for her missing son, Friday, Nov. 6, 2015. Hopes are starting to fade for finding more survivors in the rubble of a four-story factory which collapsed this week killings dozens of people left many injured.─AP

LAHORE: Rescuers on Saturday pulled four more bodies from the rubble of a collapsed factory in Sunder Estate, with the death toll in the disaster rising to 45.

Soldiers and rescuers in Lahore were carefully cutting through steel and using cranes to lift the debris of the building in a bid to find people still alive, with survivors saying that many of the workers had been children.

At least 109 survivors have already been pulled from the fallen structure of the four-storey Rajput Polyester polythene bag factory near Lahore after it came crashing down on Wednesday evening, trapping scores of people inside.

Rescue sources told Dawn that of the 167 people trapped in the building, 109 had been rescued. Most of them had minor injuries.

As the case unfolded it also emerged that some labourers of the factory had held a protest three days before the tragic collapse, complaining of cracks in its structure they noticed following the October 26 earthquake.

Also Read: Factories of death

The performance of the city district government and the Punjab labour department is also being questioned as field officials supposed to conduct regular inspections of the industrial units for working conditions of labourers, structural strength and child labour violations were absent from their duty.

National Trade Union Federation Pakistan chairman Yousaf Baloch in a statement condemned the “negligence” shown by the factory owner and the labour department and demanded action against those responsible for the tragic incident.

Related: Authorities ‘ignored’ building, labour laws violations at Lahore factory

Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif had said the factory may have suffered structural damage in the October 26 quake which killed almost 400 people across Pakistan and Afghanistan.

At least 24 people died last year when a mosque collapsed in the same city, while more than 200 people lost their lives, mostly due to collapsed roofs, following torrential rain and flooding in 2014.

In 2012, at least 255 workers were killed when a fire tore through a clothing factory in Karachi, one of the deadliest industrial accidents in Pakistani history.

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