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 and killing at least 14 people.
The quake struck around 3 p.m. EST Friday, or 4 a.m. local time, about six miles (10 kilometers) underground.
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.
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.
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.
Hundreds of people were injured in the quake, but most of them had been released from hospitals by Saturday night.
Most people were asleep when the magnitude-6.4 earthquake hit at about 4 a.m., 22 miles (35 kilometers) southeast of Yujing. It struck only 6 miles (10 kilometers) 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.
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 center said. One other death was reported at the site, but details were not immediately available.
According to the island’s weather and earthquake monitoring agency, the quake, measuring 6.4 on the Richter scale and with a depth of 16.7 kilometers, was centered about 27 km northeast of Pingtung county seat.
It was felt as a lengthy, rolling shake in Taipei, on the other side of the island.
Youtube user Li Qiu Ming posted this video said to be of the earthquake’s aftermath:
It was felt as a lengthy, rolling shake in the capital, Taipei, on the other side of the island.
Story by The Associated Press with additional information from CCTV News, Reuters, and Xinhua.