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Quake rescue efforts focused on rooms 201, 213 at Beauty Inn: NFA

2018/02/09 13:24:05

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) The search for seven people who remain missing after the Feb. 6 earthquake in Hualien is now concentrated on two rooms at the Beauty Inn, which was located in the Yun Men Tsui Ti building, an official of the National Fire Agency (NFA) said Friday.

NFA Director General, Chen Wen-lung (陳文龍) said rescue teams are working to locate a Chinese family of five and a Canadian couple, who were staying in Rooms 201 and 213, respectively, at the inn.

The search has been made difficult because the building has tilted and the second floor was squashed, leaving only about 30 centimeters of headroom, according to information provided by Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁).

All seven people who remain missing in the aftermath of the magnitude 6.0 earthquake are believed to be trapped on what was the second level of the 12-story Yun Men Tsui Ti building that partly collapsed in the disaster.

The rescue teams have detected signs of life in Room 213, where Canadians Peter So (蘇煒禧) and his wife Freda (蕭敏渝), both 49 years old, are believed to be trapped.

Chen said the signs may include breathing, heartbeats or tiny movements, which give hope that there are survivors in the rubble.

Rescuers have found a suitcase near Room 213, which they believe belongs to the couple.

Relatives of the So couple have been asking their friends in Taiwan to provide the rescuers with photos of the couple to help in the search.

Meanwhile, the Chinese family of five was visiting Taiwan and staying at the inn when the quake struck close to midnight Tuesday. They 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).

Friday marked the third day of search and rescue efforts following the earthquake that hit Hualien County in eastern Taiwan late Tuesday.

According to the latest figures from the emergency center, 10 people died the quake, 270 were injured, and seven remain missing.

The quake also caused widespread infrastructure damage in Hualien.

(By CNA coverage team and Kuan-lin Liu)