Bangladesh Factory Collapse Kills 7

By Ruma Paul

DHAKA, March 13 (Reuters) - Rescuers in Bangladesh searched through the wreckage of a factory warehouse on Friday, a day after it collapsed killing at least seven people, but far fewer people were trapped than an initial estimate of 100.

Soldiers and sailors in the port town of Mongla helped emergency services search through rubble of the cement factory warehouse and pull out nearly 50 survivors as well as two more bodies overnight.

Senior district official Mohammad Shah Alam Sardar later told Reuters the search had finished.

"The rescue operation has been called off as no more bodies were found," Sardar said by telephone from the scene.

Thirty people were injured, some critically, officials said.

The warehouse at the Mongla Cement Factory facility was under construction in the town, 335 km (210 miles) southwest of the capital, Dhaka, when the accident happened.

The Mongla Cement Factory is a subsidiary of the Bangladesh army.

The cause was still being investigated but one survivor told media the building's roof had come down first, adding that there might have been problems in setting up scaffolding.

Bangladesh has a poor record for building safety.

A complex of shops and small factories collapsed in 2013 killing more than 1,130 people, most of them garment workers.

The collapse of Rana Plaza, built on swampy ground outside the capital, Dhaka, ranked among the world's worst industrial accidents and prompted a global outcry for improved safety in the world's second-largest exporter of ready-made garments.

Syed Helal Hossain, a senior official at the Mongla Cement Factory, said a Chinese company, China National Building Material International Engineering Limited, had the contract to build the warehouse and a Bangladeshi company had been sub-contracted to finish construction.

Representatives of the two companies were not available for comment. (Reporting by Ruma Paul, Serajul Quadir and Enamul Huq in Khulna; Editing by Robert Birsel)