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A woman who survived more than 16 days in the rubble of a collapsed factory building in Bangladesh was rescued on Friday.
The woman was found trapped in the remains of the building and given water and food as rescuers tried to reach her. Rescuers stopped using heavy machinery on the site during the delicate operation, according to Bangladesh’s Daily Star newspaper.
Local television then showed a woman in a purple dress being freed from the rubble about 391 hours after the collapse. Bangladesh's army spokesman Shahinul Islam told Reuters that the woman had been "rescued and taken to a military hospital."
The woman was named as Reshma Begum, who is married with a young son, from the Dinajpur area by a senior official involved in the rescue operation, who added she was found in a mosque in the building’s basement. She was first spotted by a 15-year-old volunteer helping at the site called Monowar, the official said. The official said she was dehydrated but able to walk. Moazzem Hossain, an army major, also told the Star that she was in "good health."
The paper said the first sign there was a survivor came when a rescuer heard groans coming from the basement at 3:15 p.m. local time on Friday (5:15 a.m. ET). She was freed just over an hour later.
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."An official told the paper that she may have drunk water pumped into the building. A fire that broke out after the collapse was thought to have killed anyone else inside.
Munir Uz Zaman / AFP - Getty Images
The factory building -- once eight-stories high -- is now almost at ground level.
The April 24 collapse of the Rana Plaza complex, which is about 20 miles northwest of Dhaka, was the world's worst industrial accident since the Bhopal disaster in India in 1984. The number of people confirmed to have been killed had reached 1,038. Roughly 2,500 people were rescued.