Taiwan earthquake death toll rises to 65 with dozens still missing

World Today

The Tainan District Prosecutors Office said in a statement Wednesday that they have approved the detention of three construction company executives who are suspected to have overseen shoddy construction of the 17-story Weiguan Golden Dragon building, which tumbled on to its side following an earthquake Saturday.Rescue teams continue to use heavy excavation machinery to dig through the rubble of a collapsed building complex in Tainan, Taiwan, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2016. (AP Photo/Johnson Lai)

The death toll from a weekend earthquake in Taiwan rose to 65 as of 9 p.m. local time, with 59 people still missing and presumed trapped under the rubble of a collapsed residential building, Taiwan’s CNA reported.

The 16-story Weiguan Golden Dragon complex was the only building to collapse during Saturday’s magnitude-6.4 earthquake, which otherwise caused limited damage in the southern city of Tainan.

Government prosecutors have detained three construction company executives on suspicion of professional negligence resulting in death amid accusations that the structure, built in 1989, was not properly reinforced.

A total of 327 people in the building survived. Rescuers say the chances of finding more survivors are now slim.

Earthquakes frequently strike Taiwan but usually cause little or no damage, particularly since more stringent building regulations were introduced following a magnitude-7.6 quake in 1999 that killed more than 2,300.

Saturday’s quake cut power lines and water mains in Tainan but only two deaths were reported outside the Weiguan apartment complex.

Story by The Associated Press.