FIVE people died and hundreds were feared trapped after an apartment building collapsed following a magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Taiwan, The Sun reports. Rescuers pulled more than 160 people from the rubble after the 17-storey residential complex toppled after the tremor rocked the southern city of Tainan in the early hours of the morning.
At least 29 were injured and have been taken to hospital as emergency workers try to find more survivors. It is believed the apartment block housed 221 residents. At least five aftershocks of magnitude 3.8 or more struck the city — home to nearly two million people —following the initial quake.
Taiwan news channels showed images of police, firefighters and troops at the site of a collapsed residential building as cries were reportedly heard of those trapped inside. Firefighters hosed down the building to prevent a blaze, while others used ladders and a crane to rescue residents.
The building appeared to have toppled on to the first storey, where a kid’s clothes could be seen fluttering on a laundry line. At least two buildings have toppled and water and gas pipes in the city have also ruptured, Taiwanese site ET Today reported. However local media reported one of the buildings to crumble as a result of the quake is a residential complex housing hundreds of people.
The US Geological Survey said the quake’s epicentre was around 27 miles south-east of the city. It revealed the tremor was only around 6.2 miles deep, which would have amplified its impact. The island nation’s China Post said: “Collapsed buildings reported in Tainan, with rescue workers arriving on scene.
“The city government there has set up a level one emergency response center. Onlookers are urged not to block access to emergency crews moving into the area.” The city’s fire department confirmed it was en route to the site of a building that had partially collapsed.
No other details are known, but locals say the tremor was strong. Pao-feng Wu said: “I hugged the wall and put my face to the wall.”