Strong earthquake kills 1, house knocks, train derails in Taiwan


TAIPEI, Taiwan (TBEN) – A strong earthquake shook much of Taiwan on Sunday, knocking over a three-story building, temporarily trapping four people inside, stranding about 400 tourists on a mountainside and part of a passenger train from hit the track.

One dead and nine people were slightly injured, according to the Taiwan Emergency Operations Center.

The 6.8 magnitude earthquake was the largest of dozens to hit the island’s southeast coast since Saturday night, when a 6.4 magnitude earthquake struck the same area.

Most of the damage appeared to be north of the epicenter, which Taiwan’s central weather bureau said was in the city of Chishang at the relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers (4 miles).

In the nearby town of Yuli, a cement factory worker died and the three-story building, which houses a 7-11 supermarket on the ground floor and housing above, collapsed, according to the island’s Central News Agency.

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The 70-year-old owner of the property and his wife were rescued first, but it took longer to get to a 39-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter.

A photo released by the Hualien city government showed the girl lying on a blanket and a metal ladder from the top of the rubble by helmeted rescuers in orange uniforms.

The top two floors of the building were sprawled across a small street and left on the other side, with electrical wires being pulled down through the fallen structure.

More than 7,000 households were left without power in Yuli and water pipes were also damaged. Shelves and musical instruments toppled over at Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church, and a long fissure ran through the floor. Outside, the sidewalk was broken into chunks of concrete.

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Police and firefighters rushed to a collapsed bridge on a two-lane road in what appeared to be a rural part of the same town, where three people and one or more vehicles have fallen, according to media reports.

Also in Yuli, a landslide caught nearly 400 tourists on a mountain famous for the orange daylilies that cover its slopes this time of year, according to the Central News Agency. They had no electricity and a weak mobile signal.

Debris from a falling canopy on a platform at Dongli station in Fuli town, which lies between Yuli and the epicenter in Chishang, hit a passing train, derailing six cars, the Central News Agency said, citing railway administration. None of the 20 passengers were injured.

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The shaking was felt on the north side of the island in the capital Taipei. In the city of Taoyuan, west of Taipei and 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of the epicenter, a man was injured by a collapse of the ceiling on the 5th floor of a sports center.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami advisory for several southern Japanese islands near Taiwan, but later lifted it.


Moritsugu reported from Beijing. The Bharat Express News writer Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan contributed to this report.