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Lahore factory collapse: killed 30 , more than 150 under rubble

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LAHORE (APS)Nov 4,2015 – A four-storey factory building in the Sundar Industrial Estate near Lahore collapsed on Wednesday, killing at least 30 people and wounding 40 others. At least 150 people are still trapped under the rubble.

The rescue workers have so far retrieved 16 dead bodies while at least 43 injured have been taken to hospitals. Over 200 people worked in the factory all of whom are trapped under the rubble. In recent development 3 more individuals identified as 26 year old Mohammad Saleem, 17 year old Bilal and Azhar were extricated from the debris. Azhar s legs had to be amputated in order to save his life.

The collapse took place at a four-storey Rajput Polyester factory, which manufactured polythene bags, in the Sundar Industrial Estate around 45 kilometres (30 miles) southwest of Lahore.

Upon district administration’s request, Pakistan Army men have arrived at the scene along with heavy machinery including hydraulic jacks to partake in the rescue operations.

At least 15 vehicles of Rescue 1122 are already busy carrying out the rescue operation while they’re also joined by Pakistan Army personnel and Bahria Town organization. Cylinders for oxygen have also been provided to those trapped under the wreckage.

The District Coordination Officer (DCO) has issued an alert to all hospitals and staffers. Emergency was declared in Lahore s Jinnah, General and Sharif Medical hospitals.

A spokesman for the rescue services, said more than 150 people were still trapped, while ambulances were taking the injured to hospital.

The army meanwhile announced it was deploying specialist search teams and engineers to the factory. 2 sniffer dogs are also at the disposal of the search team.

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Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif said it was possible the building had been damaged after the October 26 earthquake.

“I have heard about earthquake affect on the building, but according to labourers the owner continued to build an extension,” he told reporters.

Three cranes, a bulldozer and more than 40 emergency rescue vehicles were working at the site, a rescue official said.

But provincial spokesman Zaeem Qadri told reporters that progress was slow because the factory was at the end of a narrow lane making it difficult for excavators to reach the site.

He added that an emergency has been declared at all local hospitals.

Chief doctor Zia Ullah of Jinnah Hospital where some injured have been taken said most of the victims were young workers, with many suffering head injuries and fractured limbs.

Pakistan has a poor safety record in the construction and maintenance of buildings.

Last year, a mosque collapsed in the same city, killing at least 24 people.

More than 200 people lost their lives to collapsed roofs following torrential rainfall and flooding in 2014.

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

A judicial probe into the blaze was damning, pointing to a lack of emergency exits, poor safety training of workers, the packing in of machinery and the failure of government inspectors to spot any of these faults.

A murder case was registered against the factory owners, but it has never come to trial.

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