Oak Maedow Phuket BRITISH INTERNATIONAL SCHOOL, PHUKET Kata Rocks
The Phuket News Novosti Phuket Khao Phuket

Login | Create Account | Search


Rescuers scour toppled buildings after Taiwan quake kills seven

Rescuers scour toppled buildings after Taiwan quake kills seven

TAIWAN: Rescue workers pulled survivors and bodies from buildings tilting precariously in the Taiwanese city of Hualien today (Feb 7), after an overnight earthquake killed at least seven people, injured more than 200 and left dozens missing.

accidentsconstructiondeathdisastershealth
By AFP

Wednesday 7 February 2018, 05:38PM


Major buildings were left balanced precariously at angles after the 6.4-magnitude Taiwan quake. Photo: Paul Yang / AFP

Major buildings were left balanced precariously at angles after the 6.4-magnitude Taiwan quake. Photo: Paul Yang / AFP

Emergency responders were focusing on a 12-storey apartment block and a nearby hotel, both of which were leaning dangerously with their lower floors pancaked after the 6.4-magnitude quake hit the popular tourist city late yesterday (Feb 6).

There were grave concerns for the badly leaning Yun Tsui residential building, which also housed a restaurant, shops and a hostel.

The national fire agency said 88 people were unaccounted for as of 2pm (1pm Thai time) but it was not immediately clear how many of those were trapped inside buildings.

Dozens of residents – and a string of pets – were rescued with ropes and ladders overnight. But fire department staff at the site said that at least four bodies had been pulled out of the building in the day.

Officials temporarily suspended rescue efforts late afternoon over fears the building might slip further as engineers raced to push large concrete clocks and steel bars against the leaning side.

One resident who lives nearby told of how he watched the tower block partially collapse.

“I saw the first floor sink into the ground. Then it sank and tilted further and the fourth floor became the first floor,” said Lu Chih-son, 35, who saw 20 people rescued from the building.

“My family were unhurt but a neighbour was injured in their head and is bleeding. We dare not go back home now. There are many aftershocks and we are worried the house is damaged,” he said.

Chen Chih-wei, 80, said he was sleeping in his apartment on the top floor of the building when the quake struck.

“My bed turned completely vertical. I was sleeping and suddenly I was standing,” he said.

Chen said he managed to crawl his way to a balcony to wait for rescue, adding that the quake was the strongest he had felt in more than five decades of living in Hualien.

At the Marshal Hotel, which was also leaning and badly damaged, at least two people were killed when the lower floors collapsed. But most residents got out and authorities said they believed there were no more people trapped inside.

President Tsai Ing-wen visited the apartment block this morning.

“Now is the prime time for our rescue efforts, our first priority is to save people,” she said in a Facebook post.

UWC Thailand

Hualien is one of Taiwan’s most popular tourist hubs as it lies on the picturesque east coast rail line and near the popular Taroko Gorge.

The government said 17 foreigners sought medical treatment for minor injuries.

Local resident Blue Hsu said some of those carried out of the hotel were foreigners.

“The lower floors sunk into the ground and I saw panicked tourists being rescued from the hotel,” eyewitness Blue Hsu said.

Officials also said 214 people had been injured in the quake, with 117 rescued from damaged buildings so far. Some 830 people were in shelters while 1,900 houses were without power.

The quake hit just before midnight (10:50pm Thai time) around 21 kilometres northeast of Hualien, according to the United States Geological Survey.

It followed almost 100 smaller tremors to have hit the area in the last three days and comes exactly two years since a quake of the same magnitude struck the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan, killing more than 100 people.

Most of the deaths from the February 2016 earthquake were from the 16-storey Wei-kuan apartment complex, which toppled on its side and buried many residents in the rubble.

It was the only high-rise in Tainan to crumble completely in that quake.

The safety of the building was called into question immediately after the disaster, when metal cans and foam were found to have been used as fillers in the concrete and residents said there had been cracks in the structure.

Five people were found guilty and sentenced to five years imprisonment over the disaster, including the developer and two architects, with prosecutors saying they “cut corners” that affected the building’s structural integrity.

Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

Comment on this story

* Please login to comment. If you do not have an account please register below by simply entering a username, password and email address. You can still leave your comment below at the same time.

CAPTCHA

Be the first to comment.

 

Have a news tip-off? Click here

 

Phuket community
CCSA fears infections surge over long weekend

'No new cases' is just propaganda. They hardly test local people. Among all tested returnin...(Read More)


Chinese tourists for Phuket ‘bubble’

Has Bangkok forgotten already, where that virus came from . Mr. Happy is in China's pocket....(Read More)


Sustainably Yours: Solving Phuket’s Water Crisis

All good points and completely true. But Thai's don't do anything unless they're forced ...(Read More)


Nightlife to resume, some foreigners allowed in

The height of sexism to criminalize women's breasts, which are identical to overweight males...(Read More)


TAT Governor marks more than 100 Phuket tourism operators awarded SHA certification

When I, as a 'quality tourist' would arrive in a ***** Thai hotel and see that SHA sticker, ...(Read More)


CCSA fears infections surge over long weekend

Well, with Thailand in a actually in a insular 'lock down' to the outside world. ( beside b...(Read More)


EU opens borders to ‘safe’ countries including Thailand

EU put graciously Thailand on the list of countries who might visit EU countries. Now Thailand has t...(Read More)


Chinese tourists for Phuket ‘bubble’

quality tourist from Europe will not be coming if the Chinese are in Phuket, who wants to risk being...(Read More)


Chinese tourists for Phuket ‘bubble’

I miss Thai Government stand how China publicly , till now handle their Hunan- and Swine virus outbr...(Read More)


Phuket bar rules revealed, operators warned to comply or face closure

Must close at midnight, Right. Where were all the health Officials, police, Patong Mayor, mr Sirawat...(Read More)