In a stunning development out of Bangladesh, workers cleaning up the wreckage of a collapsed garment factory have found a woman still alive after more than two weeks trapped under the debris. The building collapsed on April 24, but rescuers long ago gave up any hope of finding more survivors. Even so, The Daily Star reports that a woman was heard moaning under the pile of rubble at around 3:15 p.m. local time and was pulled free about 40 minutes later.
The Associated Press reports that soliders working at the site saw the woman in the rubble and she waved to them. Al Jazeera broadcast footage of the woman being loaded into an ambulance and taken away to a local military hospital, and according to the BBC, she has "no significant injuries." It appears she was trapped in the basement or second floor of the building (which remained mostly intact) and may have had some access to water during the last two weeks. All work at the site, which is being cleared with bulldozers and cranes, was halted as rescuers cut her free from the tangled mess of iron rods and concrete.
The Wall Street Journal reports that the woman, who was identified as Reshma Begum, was trapped under the rubble, but was able to move around enough to scavenge biscuits from her dead co-workers, which she ate to survive. She also used an exposed metal pipe to breath and was banging on the pipe to alert rescue workers, who first heard the noise on Friday after removing a pile of rubble from on top of the spot she was hidden in.
Earlier on Friday, authorities announced that the death toll from the disaster was now officially over 1,000 people. More than 2,500 people were rescued in the first days after the eight-story building collapsed on itself last month, but with one final rescue to be made, it brings at least one small moment of happiness for a community still reeling from the tragedy.
Here are some more pictures of the rescue: