Taiwan earthquake: Tin cans found in the construction of toppled highrise – CNN
The building is one of 11 that collapsed after the quake, CNA reported, but is the only highrise to completely crumble.
“The building essentially collapsed onto itself,” Elise Hu, an NPR correspondent who was in Taipei when the quake hit, told CNN. “When you see the aerial images around Tainan, the rest of the buildings are standing. But this particular apartment complex is as damaged as it is.”
‘I was trapped’
A woman was pulled alive from the rubble Sunday night local time after being trapped for 40 hours, CNN affiliate SETTV reported.
The woman — identified as Mrs. Tsao — was found with her husband and son. The three were holding each other, though Mrs. Tsao was the sole survivor.
Five other family members are missing, SETTV said.
Another woman, Chien, her three-year-old daughter and her husband were in their bedroom in Tainan –Taiwan’s oldest city — when the earthquake struck.
“I was trapped in a room in a building toppled by the quake,” said the mother, who gave only her surname.
“The smell of gas was thick in the air, and I was worried that I would be killed by an explosion if not crushed to death in the collapsed building,” she told CNA.
It was a frightening ordeal, one that she has dealt with before.
She lived in central Taiwan before moving to Tainan and survived the 1999 quake that killed more than 2,000 people.
“I moved to Tainan after I got married and now I have encountered another major earthquake,” she told CNA.
‘Ring of fire’
Before rescuers freed them, Chien and her family were trapped for three hours in their sixth-floor apartment in the 16-story residential building.
In all, more than 500 people were injured, CNA reported. Ninety-two people remain hospitalized late Sunday, according to Tainan’s disaster response office.
Taiwan is in the so-called “Ring of Fire,” an area in the Pacific Ocean where intense tectonic plate movement causes frequent earthquakes.
“Taiwan is very used to earthquakes and tremors, but this is far more significant than the island has seen in quite a while,” Hu told CNN.
One woman told CNN affiliate EBC that rescuers had to cut a hole in order to help her family get out.
“Fortunately we were stuck under a space created by a baby crib and a closet door, so that things won’t fall on us and air was able to get in,” she said from the hospital, where she was being treated for a leg injury. “I was so afraid.”
The quake struck as many in Taiwan prepared to celebrate the Lunar New Year.
President Ma Ying-jeou canceled his traditional Chinese New Year address to oversee rescue and recovery operations at the national disaster headquarters, his spokeswoman said.
It’s one of the country’s biggest holidays, and some people have as many as nine days off, Hu said.
“If you can imagine something like this happening during Thanksgiving holiday weekend or Christmas travel, that’s the equivalent of what’s happening here in Taiwan right now,” she said.