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Search continues for 7 people missing in Hualien earthquake

2018/02/09 09:30:04

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) Racing against time, rescuers on Friday continued their search in a partially collapsed building in Hualien in which seven people are feared to be trapped after a massive earthquake struck the eastern county more than 57 hours ago.

All the seven remaining unaccountable for were guests at the Beauty Inn located on the lower floors of the 12-story Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex in downtown Hualien.

Among them is a Chinese family of five who was staying in Room 201. The family members are 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).

The other two are a Canadian couple, identified as Peter So (蘇煒禧) and Freda So (蕭敏渝), both ages 49, who was staying in Room 213.

Using life detectors, rescuers discovered signs of life and smelled a stench of dead bodies near Room 213 early Friday, but have not found any of the missing individuals as of press time.

Rescuers also found a bag, mobile phone, documents and clothes belonging to He Fenghua in Room 201, but are not sure if the missing family is still inside the building.

As of 8 a.m. Friday, 10 people have been confirmed dead in the magnitude 6.0 earthquake, which recorded the highest intensity level of 7 in downtown Hualien.

They include seven in the Yun Men Tsui Ti building: four Chinese nationals and a Taiwanese citizen staying in Beauty Inn; a Taiwanese worker at the hotel; and a Philippine caregiver working for a Japanese family living on the 7th floor.

Also deceased were a Taiwanese worker at Marshal Hotel and two local residents.

A total of 276 people, meanwhile, were injured in the earthquake.

(By Lee Shien-feng, Huang Li-yun and Y.F. Low)