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4 arrested for Bangladesh factory fall

The death toll after the building collapse in Bangladesh is now 341 as rescuers continue their search.

The 8-storey Rana Plaza building collapsed on 24 April 2013 in Bangladesh with around 3,000 workers in it. Picture: AFP

DHAKA - Two factory bosses and two engineers were arrested in Bangladesh on Saturday, three days after the collapse of a building.

Rescuers said the death toll rose to 341, but many people were still being found alive.

The eight storey complex houses factories where low-cost garments are made for Western brands.

As many as 900 people could still be missing, police said.

The owner of the building that fell like a pack of cards with around 3,000 workers inside, was still on the run.

Police said several of his relatives were detained to compel him to hand himself in, and an alert had gone out to airport and border authorities to prevent him from fleeing the country.

Officials said Rana Plaza, on the outskirts of the capital, Dhaka, had been built without the correct permits, and the workers were allowed in on Wednesday despite warnings the previous day that it was structurally unsafe.

Two engineers involved in building the complex were also arrested at their homes early on Saturday, Dhaka district police chief Habibur Rahman said.

He said they were arrested for dismissing a warning not to open the building after a jolt was felt and cracks were noticed on some pillars the previous day.

The owner and managing director of the largest of the five factories in the complex, New Wave Style, surrendered to the country's garment industry association during the night and they were handed over to police.

The factory, which listed many European and North American retailers as its customers, occupied upper floors of the building that officials said had been added illegally.

Around 60 percent of Bangladesh's garment exports go to Europe.

The United States takes 23 percent and Canada takes 5 percent.

North American and European chains, including British retailer Primark and Canada's Loblaw, a unit of George Weston Ltd, said they were supplied by factories in the Rana Plaza building.

Loblaw, which had a small number of "Joe Fresh" apparel items made at one of the factories, said on Saturday that it was working with other retailers to provide aid and support.

It said it was sending representatives to Bangladesh and was also joining what it described as an urgent meeting with other retailers and the Retail Council of Canada.