Body of last victim of apartment collapse in Tainan found

02/18/2016 10:32 PM
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Taipei, Feb. 19 (CNA) The body of the last victim of the collapsed residential compound in Tainan was found Thursday, nearly two weeks after a strong earthquake hit southern Taiwan in the early morning of Feb. 6, according to the Tainan City government.

The search efforts to find the body of the victim raised the number of the deaths in the 16-story Weiguan Jinlong apartment complex, located in Yongkang District in the city, to 115, Tainan authorities said.

A 6.4-magnitude quake rocked southern Taiwan at 3:57 a.m. on Feb. 6, toppling more than 10 buildings, all in Tainan. An additional two deaths were confirmed in the city's Guiren District, so that the total deaths in the city due to the quake hit rose to 117, the government statistics showed.

The last death, identified as Lin Han-fei (林函霏), aged 32, was not a resident of the Weiguan Jinlong compound. But, she was often seen near the residential building so the rescue and search crew had listed her as a person who was unaccounted for after the earthquake rocked the city.

Soon after the Weiguan Jinlong complex and other buildings collapsed due to the temblor, search and rescue teams from Tainan and other cities in Taiwan rushed to start their work in a bid to save as many people as possible and retrieve the bodies of the victims.

Following the intensive search and rescue efforts, the Tainan City government called off the rescue phase on Feb. 12, announcing a total of 116 fatalities before finding Lin's body on Thursday.

After wrapping up the rescue phase, the Tainan City government continued to clear up the rubble of the collapsed Weiguan Jinlong complex, while police took over the search efforts in an attempt to find Lin.

Probing into surveillance videos in the days leading up to the earthquake, police had suspected that Lin had been staying near Building A of the Weiguan Jinlong complex at the time of the tremor and decided to relaunch the search efforts on Thursday afternoon, according to Tainan Mayor Lai Ching-te (賴清德).

Surveillance video footage shows Lin was last seen near the Weiguan Jinlong complex at around 11 p.m. of Feb. 5. After summoning witnesses, police said that Lin had usually stayed beside a pillar of the compound's Building A and even slept there at night.

The relaunched rescue efforts found the body of Lin in the basement, about 2.6 meters underground in Building A of the Weiguan Jinlong complex, at 5:40 pm., Thursday, said Wu Tsung-jung (吳宗榮), director of the Tainan Public Works Bureau.

Police said that a DNA test will have to be conducted to confirm the identification of the body, though the clothes on the body match those of Lin as she was last seen.

(By Yang Ssu-jui and Frances Huang)


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