Survivors pulled out from building 2 days after Taiwan quake

At least four people, including an 8-year-old girl, were rescued Monday from a high-rise Taiwanese apartment building toppled by a powerful quake two days earlier, as frustration grew among families waiting for searchers to reach their buried loved ones.

TAINAN, Taiwan — At least four people, including an 8-year-old girl, were rescued Monday from a high-rise Taiwanese apartment building toppled by a powerful quake two days earlier, as frustration grew among families waiting for searchers to reach their buried loved ones.

More than 100 people are believed to still be under the debris in a disaster that struck during the most important family holiday in the Chinese calendar — the Lunar New Year.

Saturday’s quake killed at least 38 people in Tainan city in southern Taiwan, all but two of them in the collapse of the 17-story building. Even though the 6.4-magnitude quake was shallow, few buildings were reported to have been damaged, which experts said was because Taiwan’s building standards are high.

Authorities have managed to rescue more than 170 people — the vast majority in the immediate hours after the quake — from the folded building using information about the building layout and the possible location of those trapped.

Five survivors were believed to have been pulled out on Sunday, and at least four on Monday. One of them, Tsao Wei-ling, called out “Here I am” as rescuers dug through to find her, Taiwan’s Eastern Broadcasting Corp. reported.

She was found under the body of her husband, who had shielded her from a collapsed beam, the government-run Central News Agency reported. Tsao’s husband and 2-year-son were found dead, and five other members of the family remained unaccounted for, it said.

Teams also rescued on Monday a 42-year-old man from the building, and, later, an 8-year-old girl, who had been trapped for more than 61 hours.

Mayor Lai Ching-Te told reporters he briefly exchanged words with the girl, Lin Su-chin.

“She is awake, but looks dehydrated, lost some temperature but she’s awake and her blood pressure is OK,” he said. “I asked her if there’s anything wrong with her body. She shook her head.”

Shortly afterward, rescue workers also pulled out a 28-year-old Vietnamese woman, identified as Chen Mei-jih, who had been trapped on what was the building’s fifth floor.

Family members of the missing flooded into the information centre in search of their loved ones or to wait anxiously.

Tensions rose as some relatives, losing patience, demanded to speak to rescue workers directly to get the latest information.

A couple sitting in a small room where officials release information said they had heard no news about their daughter-in-law and two young grandsons.

“Does that mean we are here to wait for bodies?” grandfather Liu Meng-hsun cried out angrily.

Outside, a woman stood at the edge of the rubble shouting, “Your grandma is here!” Rescuers had detected life within the area where the 16th-floor apartment of her son and his family was thought to be, and were said to have heard the sound of a child.

Her son, surnamed Wu, got out of the building soon after the quake, but his wife and their 4-year-old girl remained trapped, according to volunteers assisting the family.

Earthquakes rattle Taiwan frequently. Most are minor and cause little or no damage, though a magnitude-7.6 quake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.

The spectacular fall of the high-rise, built in 1989, raised questions about whether its construction had been shoddy. The government says it will investigate whether the developer cut corners.

Huang Jia-rui, a structural engineer in Tainan, said Taiwan’s buildings aren’t as quake-proof as Japan’s, which is a leader in engineering quake-proof structures, but the island is catching up.

The extended Lunar New Year holiday officially started Monday, but celebrations were subdued and both President Ma Ying-jeou and President-elect Tsai Ing-wen cancelled the traditional handing out of envelopes of cash in their hometowns.

Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read