But it often proves too much. They keel over and vomit.
Each body pulled out takes an emotional toll. Each more heart-wrenching than the one before.
Over the weekend, rescuers found an outstretched hand sticking out from the rubble. In the man's clenched fist, a crumpled piece of paper.
"Dear father and mother," it read. "Please forgive me that I can't buy your medication anymore. Dear brother, please tend to our parents."
The note then named the victim's village. "Please send my body there."
In another case, workers found two bodies covered in dust. A man and a woman holding each other in an embrace as they awaited death.
Khan, the reporter, recalled coming across a man trapped from his waist down under a heavy slab of concrete.
Awakened by the flash from photographers' cameras, he pleaded to be rescued.
"Brothers, please save me! Please save me!" he urged.
For three days, he pleaded.
But there was little anyone could do. The slab proved too heavy to lift off him, Khan said.
The man died.
But the miracles keep workers going.
A woman was pulled out after more than 45 hours. She had been trapped under a machine. After failing to pull her hand out, rescue workers were forced to saw it off. But she lived.
Another woman who went into labor and gave birth while trapped was also pulled out alive. Her baby also lived.
The desperate wait
Outside the perimeter of the rescue area, family members wait, holding hands, mouthing silent prayers, holding pictures of missing relatives.
Gone are the wailing and crying that punctuated the air the first few days after the building crumbled.
As hope died, so did the tears.
Each time a body is pulled out -- dead or alive -- there's a desperate dart toward ambulances.
It ends in a wild cheer in some cases. But in most, heaves and sobs follow.
"The whole situation is so helpless," Khan said. "They don't know how to lift these slabs. They don't have the right equipment."
The unapproved plan
Disaster Management Minister Abul Hasan Mahmood Ali said Sunday the building was not built up to code.
It was erected on a wetland, and engineers used substandard materials for construction.