Toll in Bangladesh building collapse nears 300

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Savar, Bangladesh (CNN) — The death toll from the collapse of a building here that housed garment factories rose Friday to 304 as thousands of Bangladeshis filled the streets of the capital city of Dhaka to express their fury and anguish about the incident.

“Our prime target is to rescue the rest of the survivors alive, as we are running against time,” a military spokesman told reporters more than two days after the incident, according to the state-run news agency Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS). It did not identify the spokesman.

Two women who gave birth under the debris were rescued — along with their children — a fire service official said, according to BSS.

It was not clear how many of the products made in the factories in the suburban Dhaka town of Savar were destined for the U.S. market, but U.S. companies are major customers for Bangladeshi-made clothing.

In all, 2,348 people have been rescued, said Inter Service Public Relations Director Shaheenul Islam.

Seventy-two of them were recovered from the wreckage Friday, BSS reported, citing police.

Using hand drills and rod cutters, rescuers Friday pierced the rubble of what had been the rear of the building and extracted 40 survivors, 20 of whom were then hospitalized in critical condition, BSS said.

Hundreds more were feared still trapped amid the rubble, over which the stench of death hovered Friday.

The mound of concrete and steel, flecked with bolts of brightly colored cloth, had been an eight-story building housing five garment companies employing some 2,500 workers; a bank; a shopping mall; and offices.

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