Strong Taiwan earthquake traps people, derails train


A powerful earthquake shook much of Taiwan on Sunday, toppling a three-story building and temporarily trapping four people inside, stranding about 400 tourists on a mountainside and knocking part of a passenger train off the tracks.

The 6.8-magnitude quake was the strongest of dozens that have rocked the island’s south-east coast since Saturday night, when a 6.4-magnitude quake shook the same area. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

Most of the damage appeared to be occurring north of the epicenter, which was at a relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers (4 miles) in the city of Chishang, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau.

The three-storey building, which housed a 7-11 supermarket on the ground floor and apartments on the upper floors, collapsed in the nearby town of Yuli, the island’s central news agency said. The 70-year-old homeowner and his wife were rescued first, but it took a 39-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter longer. A photo released by the Hualien Municipal Government showed the girl lying on a blanket as a metal ladder was handed down from the top of the rubble by helmeted rescue workers in orange uniforms. The top two floors of the building were spread across a small street and out the other side, pulling power cables down from the collapsed structure.

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More than 7,000 homes were reported without electricity in Yuli, and water pipes were also damaged.

Police and firefighters rushed to a bridge collapse on a dual carriageway in what appears to be a rural part of the same town, where media reports say three people and one or more vehicles may have fallen.

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Also in Yuli, a landslide trapped nearly 400 tourists on a mountain famous for the orange daylilies that cover its slopes at this time of year, the Central News Agency said. They had no electricity and a weak cell phone signal.

Debris from a falling canopy on a platform at Dongli railway station in Fuli town, which lies between Yuli and the epicenter in Chishang, hit a passing train and derailed six cars, the Central News Agency said, citing the railway administration. None of the 20 passengers were injured. The tremors were felt at the north end 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 when the ceiling collapsed on the 5th floor of a sports center. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for several southern Japanese islands near Taiwan, but later lifted it.

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(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)



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