At least 304 dead in Bangladesh building collapse

Rescuers find 45 alive

The death toll in Bangladesh's worst factory disaster climbed past 300 on Friday, as thousands of people still surrounded the site outside the capital in search of missing relatives.

"The death toll is now 304," army spokesman Shahinul Islam said, adding that more than 2,300 people have been rescued alive since the building collapsed on April 24, including 72 on Friday.

Bangladeshi rescuers have hauled another 45 people alive from the rubble of a collapsed complex housing garment factories.

"We have rescued 45 people today including 41 we found in one place alive," national fire department chief Ahmed Ali told AFP two days after the disaster, adding that the 41 had been on the fourth floor of the eight-storey block.

The 41 people were found at 2:30 am (2030 GMT Thursday) and the other four elsewhere in the wreckage at 7:00 am (0100 GMT Friday), he said.

"We have located another 20-25 people in another place but it's proving very difficult to reach them. But they are still alive," Ali added.

As the desperate search for survivors continued, more bodies were also being pulled out of the collapsed Rana Plaza complex on the outskirts of Dhaka, whose garment factories supplied a number of Western brands.

To wild applause from thousands of relatives gathered at the scene, an army spokesman announced late on Thursday that 40 survivors had been discovered together in one room. But that figure was later revised to 24.

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