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Woman dies attempting to rescue cat from quake-hit building

04/03/2024 07:39 PM
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The eight-story mixed-use block on Xuanyuan Road is held up by the local fire department Wednesday evening. CNA photo April 3, 2024
The eight-story mixed-use block on Xuanyuan Road is held up by the local fire department Wednesday evening. CNA photo April 3, 2024

Hualien County, April 3 (CNA) A woman attempting to rescue her pet cat from a building that collapsed in Hualien following a 7.2-magnitude earthquake Wednesday has been found dead, according to local firefighters.

The woman escaped the initial temblor unharmed but became trapped by an aftershock that struck after she reentered the eight-story mixed-use block on Xuanyuan Road, the Hualien County Fire Department said.

First responders later found the 33-year-old woman, surnamed Kang (康), pinned under a column with no vital signs around 2 p.m., the department added.

Kang, a senior high school teacher, was last seen telling neighbors she was returning to the building to rescue her cat, according to the department.

A total of 24 others were rescued from the 38-year-old building, four of whom required hospitalization, the department said.

Search and rescue team members continue works at the collapsed eight-story mixed-use block on Xuanyuan Road in Hualien County Wednesday evening. CNA photo April 3, 2024
Search and rescue team members continue works at the collapsed eight-story mixed-use block on Xuanyuan Road in Hualien County Wednesday evening. CNA photo April 3, 2024

One of the building's residents, a woman surnamed Lin (林), told CNA that her mother had been injured by a falling shoe cabinet.

Another resident, surnamed Yu (游), said that his wife had to be rescued from their eighth-floor apartment after the quake rendered the building's stairs unusable.

The partial building collapse was one of several in Hualien caused by Wednesday's earthquake, the strongest in Taiwan for nearly 25 years.

A five-story family home on Beibin Street in the eastern city's downtown also caved in and tilted into the street.

The damaged building on Beibin Street in Hualien is pictured Wednesday morning. Photo courtesy of a private contributor April 3, 2024
The damaged building on Beibin Street in Hualien is pictured Wednesday morning. Photo courtesy of a private contributor April 3, 2024

All nine adults and three children living in the building escaped unharmed from the collapse, which left the first floor entirely destroyed, the homeowner, surnamed Wu (吳), told reporters.

Wu said he was using his computer when the earthquake struck and the intense shaking caused him to lose his balance and injure his foot.

His TV, wall paintings, and a steel cabinet all toppled to the ground, Wu said, adding that he managed to escape through a second-floor window.

(By Chang Chi, Lee Hui-ting and Evelyn Kao)

Enditem/ASG

Update

April 4

● 38 still missing as Hualien earthquake death toll rises to 10

● Rail traffic between Yilan, Hualien reopens after quake

● More than 70% of TSMC equipment back online after major quake in Taiwan

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April 3

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● Nine dead, over 1,000 injured as earthquake rescue operations continue

● Major earthquake shakes Taiwan, causing landslides, partial building collapse

● Multiple countries offer support for Taiwan after Hualien earthquake

● Strong quake leads to halts in production at TSMC, other tech firms

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