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Search continues for 5 Chinese missing in Hualien earthquake

2018/02/10 09:53:12

Taipei, Feb. 10 (CNA) Rescuers are concentrating their search on the five Chinese nationals who remain unaccounted for on Saturday as rescue efforts for the Feb. 6 earthquake in Hualien County enter their fourth day.

The family of five is believed to be trapped in Room 201 at Beauty Inn in the Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex in downtown Hualien, one of the four buildings that partially collapsed in the disaster.

The search has been made difficult because the 12-story building has tilted, with the first four floors severely squashed, said Chen Chiu-ming (陳秋銘), chief of Hualien County Fire Department's special rescue unit.

Although rescuers managed to reach the room located on the second floor early Saturday after creating a hollow by punching through the third and fourth floors, the search has made no progress as of press time because the room is severely deformed, he said.

The Chinese family of five was visiting Taiwan and staying at the inn when the quake struck close to midnight on Feb. 6. 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).

As of 8 a.m. Saturday, 12 people had been confirmed dead in the magnitude 6.0 earthquake, which saw the highest intensity level of 7 in downtown Hualien, according to the Central Emergency Operations Center.

They included nine in the Yun Men Tsui Ti building: four Chinese nationals, a Canadian couple of Hong Kong descent and a Taiwanese citizen staying in Beauty Inn; a Taiwanese worker at the inn; and a Philippine caregiver working for a Japanese family living on the 7th floor.

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

A total of 280 people, meanwhile, were injured in the earthquake.

(By Su Mu-chun and Y.F. Low)
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