Heavy machinery to move in any moment

Heavy equipment are expected to be used anytime now to drill a central hole from the top to look for survivors and dead bodies as the chances of finding survivors under the debris getting bleak 100 hours after the rescue operation was launched.

Golam Mujtoba DhruboAshik Hossain and bdnews24.com
Published : 28 April 2013, 09:54 AM
Updated : 28 April 2013, 11:35 AM

If no more traces of life were noticed under the concrete ruins of nine-storey Rana Plaza, heavy machinery would be pressed in service to clear the wreckage, Maj Gen Chowdhury Hassan Suhrawardy had said on Sunday morning.

But fortunately soon five people were rescued from under pile of rubbles delaying the use of machinery. Rescuers have so far been manually shifting concrete blocks with the help of light equipment.

But there was a fire in one of the rescue tunnels from some clothes of the garment factories caught fire when rescuers were cutting steel rods to pull out people alive.

Rescue workers continued their search operation using hand-held machines like cutters, pick axels, shovels and drills to dig tunnels or foxholes through the fallen structure throughout the day.

But preparations were underway in the evening to bring in hydraulic cranes and bulldozers to bore a hole from the top of the collapsed building.
Rescuers were seen slowly moving out from the wreckage site. A hydraulic crane, dozers and loaders were stationed in front of the collapsed building.

The agencies in charge of the operation are not allowing anyone other than rescue workers to remain at the site since evening.

However, General Officer Commanding Maj Gen Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy of Bangladesh Army’s 9th Infantry Division, who is coordinating the salvage operations, tried to justify the use of heavy machines at a press briefing held in the morning.

“We had prioritised the lives trapped under there for the past few days. But it is difficult to continue working manually at this stage of the rescue operation. So we wish to use some technology to aid the manual work.”

The chief representative of Bangladesh Air Force in the rescue mission, Flight Lieutenant Sanjib Saha, said the rescue team will soon use bulldozers, cranes, forklifts and excavators.

Cranes and forklifts will be used to remove heavy pieces of concrete from the site.

Excavators and bulldozers will also be used to remove the debris. The Army has several loaders and trucks on standby to take away the bricks and concrete.

Besides the Army, several private companies have provided cranes, bulldozers and loaders along with other machinery.

Rana Plaza came crushing down on Wednesday, burying thousands of garment owners working inside it. So far almost 2,433 people have been rescued.

Though it was not clear exactly how many people were inside the building when it collapsed, an estimate put the figure to be around 3,500.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher