Discuss as:

Rescue workers give up search for survivors of Bangladesh collapse

Bangladesh factory owner Mohammed Rana is taken to jail as one of eight people being held responsible for the deaths of nearly 400 people when the building collapsed. NBCNews.com's Dara Brown.

SAVAR, Bangladesh -- Rescue workers in Bangladesh gave up hopes of finding any more survivors in the remains of a building that collapsed five days ago, and began using heavy machinery on Monday to dislodge the rubble and look for bodies.

At least 380 people were killed when the illegally constructed, eight-story Rana Plaza collapsed in a heap on Wednesday morning along with thousands of workers in the five garment factories in the building. About 2,500 survivors have been accounted for. The building owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, was arrested Sunday in the western border town of Benapole while he was trying to flee to India.

The collapse was the deadliest disaster to hit the garment industry in Bangladesh that is worth $20 billion annually, supplies global retailers and is a mainstay of the economy.

The collapse of an illegally constructed factory four days ago in Bangladesh, the world's second largest producer of clothing, is responsible for the deaths of at least 400 people, while up to 900 could still be trapped inside. NBC's Michelle Kosinski reports.

Volunteers, army personnel and firefighters have worked around the clock since Wednesday, mostly using hands and light equipment to pull out survivors. Around midnight Sunday, authorities deployed hydraulic cranes and heavy cutting machines to break up the massive slabs of concrete into manageable segments that could be lifted away.

"There is little hope of finding anyone alive. Our men went inside and saw some dead bodies in the ground floor. But no one was seen alive," said Brig. Gen. Ali Ahmed Khan, the chief of the fire brigade at the scene.

Gone were the civilian volunteers who had swarmed the site since the disaster. Gone also were the waiting ambulances that over the past five days had rushed the rescued to hospitals.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited the site and a nearby hospital to meet with survivors on Monday, the first time since the disaster.

Hasina had ordered the arrest of building owner Rana, who was expected to be charged with negligence on Monday.

The owner of a building that collapsed killing hundreds has been arrested in Bangladesh. As many as 900 people remain missing in the ruins of the building in Dhaka. Rescuers are still pulling people alive from the rubble, but the pace has slowed, and the number of dead seems certain to rise from the current count of 360. ITN's Piers Hopkirk reports.

He had permission to build a five-story building but added three more illegally. He last appeared in public Tuesday in front of the Rana Plaza after huge cracks appeared in the building.

Witnesses said Rana assured tenants that the building was safe. Police, however, ordered an evacuation. A bank and some first-floor shops closed, but managers of the garment factories on the upper floors told workers to continue their shifts.

Police also arrested four owners of three factories. Also in detention for questioning are two municipal engineers who were involved in approving the building's design. Local TV stations reported that the Bangladesh High Court had frozen the bank accounts of the owners of all five garment factories.

A garment manufacturers' group said the factories in the building employed 3,122 workers, but it was not clear how many were inside when it fell.

Related:

Four arrested as death toll climbs

PhotoBlog: The search for survivors

Rescues made after collapse

 

This story was originally published on