DHAKA, Bangladesh — Day after day, the drudgery of digging for bodies had progressed at Rana Plaza. Talk of rescuing survivors had faded. This was the recovery phase, and what was being recovered were corpses, the numbers spinning remorselessly forward: 700 dead became 800, then 900, with no end in sight.
By Friday morning, the number had reached past 1,000. Then, late in the afternoon, a soldier from the Bangladeshi Army, standing atop the rubble of the wrecked building, noticed an iron rod that seemed to be moving. There was a noise, a voice. Rescuers hurriedly carved a hole through a concrete pillar. Television stations in Bangladesh cut to the scene: A woman, gasping, was alive in the wreckage, nearly 17 full days after Rana Plaza had collapsed.