The Man Who Saved 34 Lives from the Rubble of Rana Plaza

In a Nutshell

When tragedy strikes and mass lives are at stake, there’s often a fine line between keeping yourself out of danger and saving other human beings. But, one man in Bangladesh completely ignored his own safety, in a mission to save 34 people from the rubble of the collapsed Rana Plaza. With the risk of the building falling even further, the man went above and beyond his call of duty.

The Whole Bushel

Despite earning just $2.50 a day, Didar Hossain was willing to put in the hard graft at a factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh to provide for his family. But, on the 24th of April 2013, something occurred which he would never have expected. While completing his daily tasks, he heard a tremendous bang. With a noise so loud, he and his colleagues were curious to discover what it was.

Through the window of the factory, all Hossain could see was a thick layer of dust and black smoke. Seconds later, he realized the factory on the other side of the road had completely caved in; hundreds of innocent lives had been lost and a number of people were trapped helplessly under the weight of the Rana Plaza building. Hossain told the BBC at the same –

“All I could see from the window was this dust-like fog – it was really dark and smoky. We were screaming and trying to get out, but the security guard stopped us and said: ‘No, you can’t go outside.’ But I pushed past him and went out.”

After forcing his way out of his own factory, he then had to force his way into the other factory. Upon entering, he immediately spotted a deceased body with the head decapitated. But, he didn’t let that phase him, and he ploughed on through the rubble to drag 34 people to safety. On the second day, one woman with her hand crushed stuck in his mind…

Didar Hossain in hospital with one of the women he saved

“I spent five hours with her. She was 18-22m inside, on the third floor. She was crying a lot, and when I got to her she was saying: ‘Please brother, don’t leave me, get me out – even if you have to cut my hand off.”

So, Hossain quickly sought the assistance from a doctor outside, who instantly refused to enter the building. Although, the doctor did give him the anesthetic and knife and told him to do it instead. Reluctantly, Hossain struggled for some time to cut the woman’s hand off, but eventually, he was able to free her from the rubble.

From the moment the factory collapsed, to the end of the rescue operation, Didar Hossain risked his life to save those injured – “I went in on Wednesday about 09:00; didn’t finish until Friday at 13:00. I worked all that time.” After the event, Hossain explained that he had difficulty sleeping and would constantly hear screaming or see those dead bodies without heads. Ultimately, he acted like a true hero.