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Several Arrests In Deadly Bangladesh Factory Collapse

Rescue workers evacuate a survivor found in the garment factory building that collapsed Wednesday in Savar, near Dhaka, Bangladesh, on Sat., April 27, 2013.
Ismail Ferdous

Bangladeshi authorities have arrested at least seven people in connection with this week's deadly building collapse outside Dhaka, the capital. Several garment factories, shops and a bank were housed inside.

The country's state-run news agency says the people were arrested in connection with the building collapse, including two engineers and two garment factory owners. Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha, or BSS, says the 25-year-old wife of the building's owner, Sohel Rana, was detained too, along with his cousin. Rana's whereabouts aren't known and police are looking for him. As Scott wrote earlier, survivors of the disaster told journalists the owner had vouched for the building's safety after cracks appeared in the walls. The employees went to work, afraid they'd be fired if they didn't show up.

It's been four days since the building crumbled, killing at least 340 people; while rescue crews say they do hear voices of people trapped in the rubble, those voices are getting weaker. At least 29 people were freed from the debris today, according to the Associated Press, which warns emergency crews fear the rest of the building could collapse around them.

A recent national taskforce discovered many garment factories have poor safety standards, following a deadly factory fire last November that killed more than 100 people. BBC reporter Anbarasan Ethirajan told Morning Edition Bangladeshis are furious:

ETHIRAJAN: "Thousands of workers have been protesting in the industrial suburban areas. They're very angry. They want answers. And the government says that it will take action against those responsible for this building collapse. But soon after the November fire, the government set up a taskforce, and they found out that many factories were lacking in safety standards.

"But the government should have the will to carry out the rules and regulations on the other side. The garment factory owners are also very influential in this country, because nearly 80 percent of the country's exports come from garments. So the government is also not really putting pressure on the factory owners here."

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Korva Coleman is a newscaster for NPR.
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