TAIPEI — A powerful magnitude 6.4 earthquake toppled a 17-storey apartment building in southern Taiwan, killing at least five people and triggering frantic efforts to rescue about 35 people feared trapped inside.
Several buildings in the city of 2 million people tilted at alarming angles but a fire department official said rescue efforts were now focused entirely on the apartment block.
The quake was centred 43 kilometres south-east of Tainan, at a depth of 23 kilometres, the US Geological Survey (USGS) said.
The fatalities include a baby and a 40-year-old man, after a complex of towers collapsed when the tremor struck at the start of a Lunar New Year holiday.
Rescuers mounted hydraulic ladders and a crane to scour the wreckage, plucking more than 120 survivors to safety, with dozens taken to hospital, an official said.
“I was watching TV and after a sudden burst of shaking, I heard a boom,” said a 71-year-old neighbour who gave his name as Chang.
“I opened my metal door and saw the building opposite fall down,” he added.
At least five aftershocks of magnitude 3.8 or more shook Tainan about 30 minutes after the initial quake, according to Taiwan’s Central Weather Bureau.
Rescuers used dogs and acoustic equipment to pick up signs of life in the rubble.
“There are 60 households in that building,” said Tainan City Government Fire Bureau information officer Lee Po Min, estimating that there might be about 240 people living there.
One city hospital said 58 people had been brought in, most of them with light injuries.
The fire department said a total of 115 people had been taken to hospital from around Tainan.
Taiwan’s defence ministry said 810 soldiers had been mobilised for rescue efforts.
7 injured in Dhading truck-microbus collision
DHADING — Seven passengers were injured after a microbus and a truck collided head-on at Baireni in Galchhi rural municipality-6, Dhading on Thursday morning.
The cement loaded truck(Na 5 Kha 7386) en route to Kathmandu from Gajuri collided with the microbus(Ga 1 Kha 2966) coming from Pokhara from Kathmandu.
Driver of microbus along with other six have sustained injuries. Other injured are Ramendra Bishwokarma and Purna Kumari Gurung of Syangja, Aasha Gurung, Aarapi Gurung and Bibek Poudel of Kathmandu, Anju Chaudhary of Kaski and Suman Gurung of Lamjung, according to Area Police Office, Gajuri.Follow @gorkhapost