A huge "earthquake-like" explosion tore through a six-story structure in Bangladesh, causing at least 17 fatalities and more than 100 injuries.
Tuesday at approximately 4.50 p.m. local time, an explosion occurred in Dhaka's densely populated Gulistan neighbourhood. At least 200 firefighters were dispatched in 11 firefighting units for rescue and relief operations.
Local media stated that 17 bodies were returned to their families by Wednesday morning. There were two ladies among the deceased.
"Three individuals are still reported missing. It has not yet been established whether they were hurt or murdered, according to a senior police official quoted by the Dhaka Tribune, Subir Kumar.
Ten injured have been admitted to the Sheikh Hasina National Institute of Burn and Plastic Surgery in Dhaka in critical condition.
A fire service spokesman told reporters, "Sixteen bodies have been discovered (so far), but that number could rise as the rescue operation continues." Subsequently, one more victim succumbed to his injuries at the hospital, bringing the total number of fatalities to 17.
"Brain haemorrhage was the leading cause of death," declared the country's health minister, Zahid Maleque.
Concerns about the building's stability due to fissures prompted firefighting crews to suspend rescue efforts late Tuesday.
Following the explosion, several persons were engulfed in debris.
"To save them, we must cut through the concrete. "The fire department is working on it," an official previously stated.
Locals characterized the blast as "earthquake-like," but police have not been able to determine its precise source. Authorities believe the incident was an accident but have stated they will investigate if contradictory evidence is discovered.
Several residents believe illegal substances on the premises caused the explosion.
"Initially, I believed it to be an earthquake. The Daily Star quoted eyewitness Safayet Hossain, who operates a shop in the Gulistan neighbourhood, stating, "The explosion shook the entire area."
"I observed 20 to 25 individuals sleeping in the road in front of a destroyed structure. They were gravely injured and bleeding profusely. They were pleading for assistance. "Some people were frantically running around," he said.
With concerns about the building's stability, the resumption of rescue operations at the Gulistan office and business complex moved slowly on Wednesday.
According to The Daily Star, Jafor Hossain, a deputy police commissioner, stated that rescue troops could not begin full-scale operations until gaining authorization from authorities.
According to him, the basement's beams and pillars are damaged, and operating heavy equipment in the region, such as excavators, could induce vibrations that could cause the structure to collapse.
According to reports, the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence have constituted a five-person commission to investigate the explosion. The committee will issue an investigation report within five business days.