Fellow Huffington Post Story: Bangladesh Building Collapse Stokes Public Anger Over Plodding Rescue

By Emran Hossain

Shahana Akter somehow survived at least four days beneath the rubble of the eight-story Rana Plaza in Bangladesh, the collapsed factory building where nearly 400 people, mostly poor garment workers, have been declared dead.

In the end, four days weren’t enough.

Akter’s lifeless body was pulled from the wreckage Monday around 4 p.m., after rescue workers located her, abandoned her for dead and then found her alive a second time. The failure to extricate the single mother of a 1-year-old son before she died underscores the plodding pace of the government’s rescue efforts in the worst of a string of disasters in the Bangladesh garment industry.

Rescuers discovered Akter and three others clinging to life amid the rubble on Sunday and spent hours trying to dig them out. The three others died that day. After a fire broke out, engulfing Akter’s likely escape route, the rescuers assumed she was dead as well. Massive hydraulic cranes and other heavy machinery moved in to start removing heaps of wreckage as the 110-hour search for survivors drew to a close.

In a miraculous turn of events, workers found Akter alive, once again, on Monday morning. But the miracle was short-lived. By the time rescuers actually reached her Monday afternoon, she was no longer breathing.

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