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Chinese family's ill-fated trip ends in rubble of Hualien quake

2018/02/10 21:33:15

Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) A Chinese family of five who are believed to have died in the Hualien earthquake only checked into the hotel devastated in the earthquake after a car accident and a last minute change of plan, according to police and others who met them.

The free independent tourists, who checked into Room 201 at Beauty Inn located in the partially-collapsed Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex in downtown Hualien, remained officially missing as rescue efforts in the wake of the Feb. 6 earthquake in Hualien County entered the fourth day.

The family's ill-fated trip to Taiwan encountered its first problem when they headed to Hualien on Feb. 5, but were involved in an traffic accident on leaving Kenting in southern Taiwan, according to a Pingtung County police station.

The van rented by the family ran into a truck at about noon on the South-Link Highway that connects Pingtung and Taitung, the police said.

No one was injured in the accident, and the family continued on their journey to Hualien in a new van with a different driver from the car rental company, according to police.

The family's driver for the first leg surnamed Huang (黃), said they rested for nearly the whole trip and talked very little.

The family's itinerary indicates they visited such tourist spots as Sanxiantai and Baxian Caves, and originally intended to check into a bed and breakfast in Hualien.

However, the family changed their plan at the last minute and checked into the Beauty Inn because it was closer to the train station.

The family members include grandparents Ding Wenchang (丁文昌) and He Fenghua (何鳳華), ages 76 and 75, respectively; parents Yang Jie (楊捷) and Ding Shouhui (丁守慧), ages 39 and 40; and their 12-year old son Yang Haoran (楊浩然).

Three bodies were recovered from the building on Saturday but have not yet been officially identified. They are, however, believed to be three of the five family members. Search and rescue personnel continue to search for the two missing individuals in the same location.

(By Lee Hsien-feng, Kuo Chi-hsun and Lee Hsin-Yin)