Dhaka: The death toll of Bangladesh building collapse climbed to 435 with the recovery of about a dozen bodies on Thursday. The salvage operation remained slow despite the heavy machinery now being used to clear the rubble of Rana Plaza, in Dhaka's commercial suburb of Savar.

"A total of 429 bodies have so far been pulled out of the collapsed building," Major General Chowdhury Hasan Sarwardi of Bangladesh Army's Nine Infantry Division told reporters at the disaster site. Of the bodies, he said 374 have so far been handed over to their relatives.

"We are working here round the clock," army spokesman Shahinul Islam said. "Rescue operations are taking time as everything is being done with utmost caution."

The building's owner, Mohammed Sohel Rana, and his father, Abdul Khalek, are among eight people arrested so far, and police are seeking a fifth factory boss, Spanish citizen David Mayor.

There were about 3,000 people inside the complex, which was built on swampy land, when it collapsed. About 2,500 people have been rescued, many injured, but many remain unaccounted for.

About 40 unidentified victims were buried on Wednesday. One woman at the cemetery collapsed into tears when she recognized the body of her sister by her dress.

About 3.6 million people work in Bangladesh's garment industry, making it the world's second-largest apparel exporter behind China. The industry employs mostly women, some of whom earn as little as USD 38 a month.

Clothes made in five factories at Rana Plaza were produced for retailers in Europe and Canada.


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