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The death toll in the Bangladesh factory collapse has passed 300 but the latest reports suggest 41 people were rescued from debris of the collapsed building late on Thursday evening.

Brigadier Geneneral Mohammed Siddiqul Alam Shikder, in charge of the rescue operation, has confirmed that a total of 2,200 people have so far been rescued from the rubble of the Rana Plaza building.

Though it is still unclear how many people were actually inside the building when the upper floors began to give way on Wednesday evening, an NBC report suggests that 3,122 workers were employed there.

An Associated Press report from the scene describes the overpowering stench of dead bodies, and the cries of those still alive inside the rubble.

"I want to live. It's so painful here," a man still trapped beneath the rubble cried out to journalists.

"It's hard to remain alive here. It would have been better to die than enduring such pain to live on," said another man, according to the BBC.

Rescue workers are functioning non-stop to retrieve as many people as possible from beneath the rubble, in what has been described as a race against time.

"We know a human being can survive for up to 72 hours in this situation. So our efforts will continue non-stop," Maj. Gen. Chowdhury Hasan Suhrawardy said, according to the report.

A military official told reporters that search and rescue operations would continue until Saturday at least.

Following the building collapse, workers from many other garment factories have taken to streets across the surrounding suburb of Savar in protests.

Local media reported that, despite a huge crack being detected and engineers ordering an evacuation the day before the collapse, the owner decided to keep the building open.

"Workers expressed concerns about the building and nothing was done," Liana Foxvog, of the International Labor Rights Forum (ILRF), told IBTimes UK.

The majority of the factory buildings in Bangladesh are "not compliant with safety measures," she continued. "If they were operative in the US or the UK they would have been told to shut down immediately."

Start the slide show to see the disaster in pictures.