Taiwan earthquake: Death toll rises to nine as two more bodies are discovered in Hualien, dozens remain missing

Hualien: Taiwanese rescuers braved powerful aftershocks to search for survivors in a dangerously leaning apartment block that was partially toppled by a quake, locating two more bodies early on Thursday to bring the death toll to nine as dozens remain missing.

A 6.4-magnitude quake hit the popular eastern tourist city of Hualien late Tuesday, leaving a handful of buildings badly damaged — some of them leaning at terrifying angles — as well as roads torn up and hundreds sheltering in local schools and a stadium.

The major focus for emergency responders remained the Yun Tsui apartment block where the majority of the deaths occurred and dozens are still missing.

Emergency services at work after the earthquake brought down several buildings in coastal Taiwan. Reuters

Emergency services at work after the earthquake brought down several buildings in coastal Taiwan. Reuters

The lower floors of the 12-storey tower — which also housed a hotel — pancaked, leaving the structure leaning at a fifty-degree angle and sparking fears of an imminent collapse.

Despite those risks rescuers kept going into the building throughout last night morning in a desperate search for survivors.

Strong aftershocks coursed through the ground sending rescue teams running from the building, only for them to return a little while later and resume their grim task. One aftershock shortly before midnight measured 5.7-magnitude.

Chu Che-min, the Hualien fire department's rescue team leader at the scene, told AFP they located two more bodies overnight.

"We discovered the body of a Chinese woman at the hotel in Yun Tsui (building) earlier this morning and located another person who's a hotel staffer," he said.


Updated Date: Feb 08, 2018 08:24 AM

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