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Cambodia Asics shoe factory collapse kills 2

Part of a factory in Cambodia that makes sneakers sold abroad collapsed on Thursday, further inflaming concerns about safety in the global garment industry.

Cambodia shoe factoryEnlarge
Cambodian soldiers move debris after a factory collapsed in Kampong Speu province, some 50 kilometers west of Phnom Penh on May 16, 2013. A ceiling collapsed at a shoe factory in Cambodia on May 16 killing at least two workers, police said, stoking concerns about industrial safety after last month's disaster in Bangladesh. (TANG CHHIN SOTHY/AFP/Getty Images)

A floor in a Cambodian factory that makes Asics sneakers collapsed on top of workers early Thursday, further inflaming fears about the level of safety in the global garment industry after a collapse in Bangladesh last month killed an unprecented number of employees.

The Phnom Penh Post said the "allegedly illegally constructed mezzanine" floor collapsed on top of 50 workers, killing two and injuring eleven.

Heavy iron equipment stored on the floor above the factory level appeared to have caused the collapse.

Aided by soldiers, rescue workers dug through the rubble to search for any more survivors trapped inside.

One of the workers killed in the collapse, Sim Srey Touch, was just 15 years old and had worked at the factory only two weeks, her family told the Phnom Penh Post.

The young woman's mother said her daughter lied about her age to get a job at the Wing Star Shoes Co., Ltd. factory.

Her sister, 23-year-old Yim Pay, also worked at the factory and told the newspaper she watched police carry the body of her younger sister out from the rubble.

"I was working in another building and heard a thunderous sound and ran to see what was happening," she said. "I came out and saw the police carrying my sister and I went into shock."

The accident comes just weeks after the deadliest disaster in garment industry history. 

A 9-story building in Bangladesh came crashing down on top of thousands of workers last month, killing more than 1,100 people.

That collapse has led to calls for reforms in the global garment industry to make workplaces safer.

More from GlobalPost: Bangladesh bosses, labor hail retailers' safety pledge

Major international brands including Benetton, Carrefour and Marks & Spencer joined clothing giants Inditex of Spain and H&M of Sweden on Tuesday in signing a deal to improve building safety.

The agreement, backed by a Europe-based labor coalition called IndustriALL, obligates retailers to submit to independent building and fire safety inspections and to pay for repairs.

The garment industry is Cambodia's largest export earner, employing about 500,000 people, but a series of strikes and protests have put the spotlight on working conditions.

The Phnom Penh Post reports that two foreign journalists were briefly detained inside a garment factory Tuesday and ordered to delete photos they had taken inside. The factory said the reporter and photographer from Canada's Globe and Mail did not have permission to enter.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/cambodia/130516/cambodia-asics-shoe-factory-collapses-killing-2