More than 100 missing, 14 dead in Taiwan earthquake

TAINAN, Taiwan -- Rescuers were searching late Saturday for more than 100 people still missing after a powerful, shallow earthquake struck southern Taiwan before dawn, causing a high-rise residential building to collapse, killing at least 14 people and injuring hundreds.

See Full Article

Nearly 340 people were rescued from the rubble in Tainan, the city hit worst by the quake. About 2,000 firefighters and soldiers scrambled with ladders, cranes and other equipment to the ruins of the 17-floor residential building, which folded like an accordion onto its side after the quake struck.

  • Canadian citizens in Taiwan requiring emergency consular assistance should contact the Trade Office of Canada in Taipei at +886 (2) 8723-3000 or call the department’s 24/7 Emergency Watch and Response Centre collect at +1 613 996 8885. An email can also be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Local authorities said Saturday night that more than 100 people remained missing and that rescuers were racing to find them. Taiwan's official Central News Agency reported that 172 people were missing.

The quake came two days before the start of Lunar New Year celebrations that mark the most important family holiday in the Chinese calendar. The building had 256 registered residents, but far more people could have been inside when it fell because the population might have swelled ahead of the holiday, when families typically host guests.

Local media said the building included a care centre for newborns and mothers, and a newborn was among those killed in the disaster.

Most people were asleep when the magnitude-6.4 earthquake hit at about 4 a.m., 22 miles (35 kilometres) southeast of Yujing. It struck only 6 miles (10 kilometres) underground, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Tainan resident Lin Bao-gui, a secondhand car salesman whose cars were smashed when the building collapsed across the street from him, said his house first started "shaking horizontally, then up and down, then a big shake right to left."

"I stayed in my bed but jumped up when I heard a big bang, which was the sound of the building falling," he said.

Rescuer Jian Zhengshun said the rescue work was difficult because part of the building was believed to be buried underground, with the quake loosening the earth. He said rescuers had to clear rubble for passages to reach people who were trapped.

Authorities in Tainan said that of the 14 people killed in the quake, 11 were found at the ruins of the fallen building.

Rescuers found the bodies of a 10-day-old infant, three other children and six adults at the collapsed building, Taiwan's emergency management information centre said. One other death was reported at the site, but details were not immediately available.

Authorities said two people were killed by falling objects elsewhere in Tainan. No details were available on the 14th death, reported Saturday night.

Rescuers pulled out at least 247 survivors from the collapsed building, the emergency management information centre said. Throughout Tainan, 334 people were rescued, the city government said.

The information centre said 477 people were injured, with 380 of them discharged from hospitals by Saturday evening.

The Taiwanese news website ET Today reported that a mother and daughter were among the survivors from the building, and that the girl drank her urine while waiting to be rescued, which happened sooner than expected.

Rescuers went apartment to apartment, drawing red circles near windows of apartments they already had searched.

"I went to the top floors of the middle part of the building, where we found five people, one of whom was in bed and already dead," said Liu Wen-bin, a rescuer from Taichung. "Some people were found in the shower, some in the bedroom."

Elsewhere in Tainan, dozens of other people were rescued or safely evacuated from damaged structures or buildings declared unsafe following the quake, including a market and a seven-floor building, authorities said. A bank building also careened, but no one was injured or trapped.

All told, nine buildings collapsed and five careened in Tainan, the emergency management information centre said.

As dawn broke, Taiwanese TV showed survivors being brought gingerly from the high-rise, including an elderly woman in a neck brace and others wrapped in blankets. The trappings of daily life -- a partially crushed air conditioner, pieces of a metal balcony, windows -- lay twisted in rubble.

People with their arms around firefighters were being helped from the building, and cranes were being used to search darkened parts of the structure for survivors.

Men in camouflage, apparently military personnel, marched into one area of collapse carrying large shovels.

The emergency management information centre said 1,236 rescuers from outside Tainan were deployed, including 840 from the army, along with six helicopters and 23 rescue dogs.

Tainan's municipal government said it mobilized nearly 600 professional and volunteer firefighters.

The quake was felt as a lengthy, rolling shake in the capital, Taipei, on the other side of the island. But Taipei was quiet, with no sense of emergency or obvious damage just before dawn.

Residents in mainland China also reported that the tremor was felt there. The Beijing government offered to help as needed.

Because of the spectacular fall of the residential high-rise, questions surfaced about whether the 1989 structure had shoddy construction. Tainan's government said the Wei Guan building was not listed as a dangerous structure before the quake, and Taiwan's interior minister, Chen Wei-zen, said an investigation would examine whether the developer had cut corners during construction.

Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little or no damage. However, a magnitude-7.6 quake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Dear Santa, 'help them agree': Girl, 9, seeks end to N.S. teachers' dispute

    Canada News CTV News
    Layla El-Azzi’s letter to Santa Claus wasn’t a wish list filled with items such as a new bike, or clothes or the latest toy even. In fact, it wasn’t a list at all. The nine-year-old girl had one simple request for Saint Nick this year – to end the dispute between Nova Scotia’s government and the province’s public school teachers. Source
  • Trump picks fast-food CEO as labour secretary

    World News CBC News
    U.S. president-elect Donald Trump named fast-food executive Andy Puzder to head the Department of Labor on Thursday, drawing criticism from labour advocates worried about his opposition to a higher minimum wage and government regulation of the workplace. Source
  • 'Just a fun thing': SFU swimmers explain their dip in the snow

    Canada News CTV News
    Members of the Simon Fraser University swim team shed their coats and kicked off their boots as they went “swimming” on a snow covered football field. Donning only speedos and goggles, the group of swimmers dove into the shin-deep snow – unusual for Burnaby, B.C. Source
  • U.S. regulators mull allowing in-flight phone calls via plane's Wi-Fi

    World News CBC News
    Airlines could let passengers make in-flight phone calls using Wi-Fi under a proposal from federal regulators. Flight attendants and others have complained that the calls could be disruptive. But the Department of Transportation said Thursday that it envisioned allowing the calls if airlines tell all customers about the policy when they buy their tickets. Source
  • Paris battles rat infestations

    World News CTV News
    PARIS - Both the rat and Nadine Mahe des Portes panicked when she inadvertently stepped on the rodent on her walk back from work through Paris. "I heard a terrible squeak," the property agent recalled with a shudder. Source
  • Rats! Paris fights back against rodent infestation

    World News CTV News
    PARIS -- Both Nadine Mahe des Portes and the rat panicked when she inadvertently stepped on it on her walk back from work through Paris. "I heard a terrible squeak," the property agent recalled with a shudder. Source
  • Students rattled after thwarted plot to attack Toronto school

    Canada News CTV News
    An online threat against a Toronto high school was written by a student who attended classes with the same students police say he threatened to kill. Police say, on Tuesday morning, a 17-year-old male was arrested for allegedly plotting an attack against Oakwood C.I. Source
  • Separate bombings kill 10 in Baghdad

    World News CTV News
    FILE -- In this Oct, 22, 2016 file photo, Iraqi security forces inspect one of the damaged buildings after deadly clashes between Iraqi security forces and members of the Islamic state in the city of Kirkuk, 180 miles (290 kilometers) north of Baghdad, Iraq. Source
  • South Korean president is impeached in stunning fall [Video]

    World News Toronto Sun
    SEOUL, Korea, Republic Of — South Korean lawmakers on Friday impeached President Park Geun-hye, a stunning and swift fall for the country’s first female leader amid protests that drew millions into the streets in united fury. After the vote, parliamentary officials hand-delivered formal documents to the presidential Blue House that stripped Park of her power and allowed the country’s No. Source
  • Hundreds reportedly missing after fleeing Aleppo

    World News CBC News
    Hundreds of civilians streamed out of eastern Aleppo by foot on Friday as Syrian troops and allied forces waged a relentless campaign to drive rebels from their rapidly crumbling enclave. Russia announced Thursday that the Syrian army was suspending combat operations to allow for the evacuation of civilians from besieged rebel-held districts, but residents and medics inside eastern Aleppo said there was no letup in the bombardment. Source