DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Rescue workers in Bangladesh freed a woman buried for 17 days inside a prayer room in the wreckage of a collapsed garment factory building. The amazing rescue took place Friday as the death toll from the disaster raced past 1,000, making it one of the worst industrial tragedies in history.
The rescuers discovered the woman Friday afternoon in the wreckage of the basement of the building and ordered the cranes and bulldozers to immediately stop work. They used handsaws to cut through the rubble, as hundreds of people who had been engaged in the grim job of removing decomposing bodies from the site, raised their hands together in prayer.
"Allah, you are the greatest, you can do anything. Please allow us all to rescue the survivor just found," said a man on a loudspeaker leading the supplicants. "We seek apology for our sins. Please pardon us, pardon the person found alive."
When the woman, who soldiers identified as Reshma, was freed after 40 minutes, the crowd erupted in wild cheers.
She was rushed to a military hospital in an ambulance, reportedly in remarkably good shape, despite her ordeal.
Abdur Razzak, a warrant officer with the military's engineering department who first spotted her in the wreckage, said she was OK and could even walk.
Workers at the site began tearing through the nearby wreckage looking for other survivors.