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Partial collapse of Hualien buildings investigated for human error

2018/02/09 14:35:05

Taipei, Feb. 9 (CNA) The Yun Men Tsui Ti residential and commercial complex, the most seriously damaged building in the magnitude-6 Hualien earthquake, is now the focus of an investigation to determine if human error was behind the partial collapse of four structures in downtown Hualien.

Head prosecutor Wang Yi-jen (王怡仁) of the Hualien District Prosecutors Office said that his office has retrieved the building construction licenses, building use permits and applications for alterations for all four buildings that suffered serious damage in the earthquake.

The four buildings are the Yun Men Tsui Ti building, the Marshal Hotel, and two apartment buildings.

The Yun Men Tsui Ti building is the focus of the investigation, Wang said, because of the multiple deaths -- seven out of the 10 confirmed -- that can be attributed to the partial collapse of the building.

The Hualien District Prosecutors Office will be working with its counterpart in Tainan, which conducted a similar investigation in the aftermath of a 2016 earthquake there, and the Taiwan Professional Civil Engineers Association, to inspect the information and to attribute blame.

Wang is hoping that the teams in charge of dismantling the buildings and collecting evidence for the investigation can work closely together.

There are currently seven people still missing from the earthquake, all of whom are believed to be inside the Beauty Inn, part of the Yun Men Tsui Ti building.

(By Tyson Lu and Kuan-lin Liu)
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