Taiwanese rescuers brave aftershocks

Taiwanese rescuers brave aftershocks

HUALIEN, Taiwan
Taiwanese rescuers brave aftershocks

Taiwanese rescuers braved yesterday aftershocks coursing through a dangerously leaning apartment block that was partially toppled by a deadly earthquake, as their search for survivors uncovered two more bodies.

At least nine people were killed when a 6.4-magnitude quake struck the popular eastern tourist city of Hualien on Feb. 6, according to a revised toll from the national fire agency which also slashed the number of missing from nearly 60 people to 10.

The powerful tremor left a handful of buildings badly damaged - some of them leaning at precarious angles - as well as roads torn up and hundreds forced to shelter in local schools and a stadium.

The major focus for emergency responders remained the Yun Tsui apartment block where six of the deaths occurred and the remaining 10 missing people are believed to be.

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 in a desperate search for survivors. But the Feb. 8 search only recovered two bodies - a Chinese mainland tourist and a hotel worker.

Strong aftershocks continued to strike, sending the teams scurrying from the building, only for them to return a little later and resume their grim task. An emergency responder surnamed Lin said it took 14 hours to free the body of the hotel worker, who was partially trapped between the hotel’s ceiling and floor.

Taiwan, earthquake, rescue