Pakistan Factory Collapse: Death Toll Rises As Crews Sift Through Rubble

A Pakistan factory collapse killed at least 24 and left dozens injured. As rescue workers continue to sift through the rubble, death tolls are expected to rise. Officials estimate nearly 200 workers were inside the plastic bag factory when the devastating incident occurred.

It is unclear what caused the Pakistan factory collapse. However, Punjab Chief Minister Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif said the structure was likely compromised during an October 26 earthquake.

As reported by NDTV, Sharif believes the factory owners were aware the building was damaged during the earthquake. However, construction work, which began before the earthquake, continued despite the possible risk.

Jamaat-e-Islami Chief Sirajul Haq indicated the factory owners were negligent, as they ignored the obvious damage caused by the devastating quake. During a tour of the collapsed factory, Haq suggested the accident was preventable.

“The building of the factory was already lying in tatters at the hand of the recent damaging earthquake. Following the tremor, the owners should have taken up security measures.”

Muhammad Ramzan, who survived the collapse, said he was discussing the damage with one of the owners when he realized the cracks were beginning to expand.

“I immediately drew the owner’s attention towards the cracks. He was watching them when the roof collapsed and I saw him being crushed by a heap of concrete that led to his death.”

Shabaz confirmed the incident is currently under investigation. As reported by Pakistan Herald, the Chief Minister confirmed “strict action [will] be taken against Sundar Industrial Estate administration if any negligence was found in the inquiry.”

According to witness reports, an estimated 200 workers were inside the building when it collapsed. Although a majority of the workers were between the ages of 14 and 25, some of the victims were as young as 12-years-old.

Although news agencies are reporting conflicting information, Lahore administration official Mohammad Usman confirmed 102 people were rescued from the rubble. At least 24, including several teens, were confirmed dead.

Unfortunately, many workers are still missing. Mohammad Navid, who managed to escape the collapse, estimated 50 of his co-workers were “sleeping in a part of the building that rescuers had not yet reached.”

Usman said rescue teams, which are being led by Army Engineering Corps, are focused on rescuing survivors. However, the situation looks terribly grim.

As reported by BBC News, Arshad Zia, who is leading the search, is losing hope for those who may still be trapped. As it has been more than 24 hours, Zia said that “there are less chances of life now.”

When the Pakistan factory collapsed, a majority of the workers were on the first and second floors of the four-story building. Unfortunately, rescue crews “have only managed to move rubble from the top two floors.”

Officials confirmed the survivors were taken to government hospitals, which were placed in a state of emergency.

Jinnah Hospital chief doctor Zia Ullah confirmed a majority of the workers were treated for fractured limbs and head injuries. However, officials have not disclosed the condition of the victims or how many are expected to survive.

As rescue workers continue to sift through the rubble, family and friends of the factory workers are waiting at the site to find out if their loved ones survived.

Although military personnel are stationed around the collapsed building, some of the families are desperate to get inside.

An elderly gentleman, who was visibly distraught, said, “I have to go there, even if they are going to shoot me.”

At this time, it is impossible to know how many were killed in the Pakistan factory collapse, as it is unclear how many workers were inside when the tragedy occurred. However, rescue workers said they are doing everything in their power to find any remaining survivors before it is too late.

[Photo by Warrick Page/Getty Images]