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Bangladeshi worker survives 3-week ordeal in shipping container

SINGAPORE (Xinhua) – A Bangladeshi port worker survived after he was accidentally trapped in a shipping container three weeks ago and shipped to Singapore, while a fellow worker ended up dead, local media reported Wednesday.

Din Islam told Singapore police that they were taking a nap in an empty container at the Chittagong Port in southeastern Bangladesh around March 21 when the container was put together with thousands of others at the port. They shouted and banged on the walls of the container to attract attention but were not heard as the container was buried among thousands.

The container was loaded onto the ship Hansa Caledo and arrived in Singapore on March 26 after a five-day journey and was moved to the port's yard, where it stood under the sun for two weeks, the Straits Times reported.

They were found on Sunday when the container was being moved to a trailer and the man mustered up his strength to bang on the walls of the container again.

The other man, whom Din Islam said was named Alamgir, had died and his body started to decompose.

Staff from the High Commission of Bangladesh in Singapore has visited Din Islam and are helping to contact his family back home. He is said to be in stable condition.

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It is understood that the stuff were unable to get in touch with the dead man's family as Din Islam did not know him well, and could not provide many personal details.

The police have said that they did not believe foul play was involved and that a coroner's inquiry will be held.

People familiar with procedures at ports said it is uncommon for a person to be accidentally locked inside a container as it has to be sealed before arriving at a port and workers would have been alerted if someone inside shouted or banged for help.

They could also have banged on its walls for help when it was being transported or moved, said Alan Zhou, co-runner of a local sea freight company.

But a manager at a company specializing in container security said the men might have been missed if a crane had been used to stack containers on top of the one they were in.

It is believed that the absence of food and drinks supports the story Din Islam was telling, since they did not appear to have prepared for a long journey.

Mohan Tiru, head of the accident and emergency department at a local hospital, said it is possible for people to survive after one to two weeks without water, and up to one month without food.

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