At least 18 people were killed and up to 150 trapped on Wednesday when a factory collapsed near the eastern Pakistani city of Lahore, officials said, adding to a number of industrial disasters to hit the Islamic republic.
Rescue workers digging for survivors with construction equipment have recovered 40 injured people so far, said Mohammed Younis Bhatti, an information officer with Edhi Rescue Services.
Around 150 people were feared trapped under the rubble after the building collapsed, said rescue worker Kashif Nazir at the scene.
The military was flying urban search-and-rescue teams to the scene, said a military spokesman in a text message.
“Army engineers have been immediately moved for the rescue operation,” the message said.
The factory, located at an industrial site about 20 km south of the city, manufactured shopping bags. It was not clear what caused the collapse, though construction work had been going on there.
Ten bodies have been recovered from the site, said Muhammad Usman, a senior local government official.
Pakistan’s construction sector suffers from poor oversight and developers frequently flout building codes.
In September 2012, 289 people were burned to death in a fire at a garment factory in Karachi. On the same day, a fire at a shoe factory in Lahore killed 25.