After Taiwan quake, families hold anxious vigil outside collapsed building – Los Angeles Times

At 5 a.m. Sunday, 67-year-old Lin Tang-shui arrived outside the wreck of the Wei Guan apartment complex, hoping for a Lunar New Year miracle.

It was supposed to be a day of festivities, with Lin reuniting with his three grown boys for a family dinner on the eve of the most important holiday of the year in Taiwan. But Saturday’s predawn earthquake had crumpled the 17-story building in Tainan, where Lin’s middle son lived, turning the traditional day of celebration into an anxious vigil.

“It’s been a full month since I was last with him; we had dinner together then,” said Lin, wearing a beige jacket and knit cap as firefighters and military personnel combed through the rubble, and other anxious relatives of the missing stood nearby, sobbing. “We were going to meet him today for Lunar New Year, but then this happened.”

Lin’s son had bought his apartment at Wei Guan just three years ago for about $60,000. “My son worked at a tech company,” said Lin, who had stood watch all day Saturday as well. “He’s such an optimistic person, and had such a good relationship with his brothers. He’d play basketball with them whenever he had the chance.”

There was still hope: After dawn Sunday, rescuers pulled two people from the building, local media said, and they were working to free at least one other man who had been found inside, alive. But firefighters were still searching for 128 people whose relatives had reported them missing and believed they could be somewhere in the massive heap of twisted metal and concrete.


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