As many as 96 people were killed and 700 injured when a building housing a garment factory, possibly with 2,000 people inside, collapsed on the outskirts of Bangladesh's capital.
Reuters quoted an official saying the death toll had climbed to 96 people.
The eight-story building, housing several garment factories and a bank, was located in the town of Savar outside of the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka.
Rescue workers flocked to the site, frantically using concrete cutters and cranes to dig through rubble and pull out trapped people.
Onlookers joined the effort using their bare hands.
A firefighter told Reuters that about 2,000 people were in the building when the upper floors fell one on top of the other.
The New York Times cited workers as telling Bangladeshi news outlets that supervisors had ordered them to attend work on Wednesday, even after cracks appeared in the building on Tuesday.
The news service pointed out the poor record of Bangladesh's garment industry — one of the world's biggest — which despite a drive to improve safety standards has been plagued by fires and other accidents for years.
In 2012, 112 workers were killed in a blaze at a factory in an industrial suburb of Dhaka.
The BBC cited police as saying that the rear of the building suddenly started to collapse on Wednesday morning and within a short time the whole structure — except for the facade and ground floor — had caved-in.