Search-and-rescue efforts at the Yun Men Tsui Ti (雲門翠堤) building and the Marshal Hotel (統帥大飯店) in Hualien are ongoing after their partial collapse due to the magnitude 6 earthquake that struck at 11:50pm on Tuesday.
As of 10pm yesterday, police counted four dead, 67 missing and 61 rescued from Yun Men Tsui Ti.
Six adults and one child were reported to still be trapped on the first and second floors of Yun Men Tsui Ti and were awaiting rescue. The building’s other floors have been evacuated.
Photo: Ritchie B. Tongo, EPA
At 10pm, there were four people confirmed dead at Yun Men Tsui Ti, including Tai Shih-chang (戴世璋), a man whose age is unknown, two women who have not yet been identified and a Chinese tourist.
The death toll from the building was initially five, but after doctors resuscitated one victim, the official count was changed to four.
At 3pm, 50 people in the building remained unaccounted for, including 41 residents and nine guests at the Beauty Inn hostel, while 58 residents were extracted from the building.
Photo: Wu Jen-chieh, Taipei Times
The lean angle of Yun Men Tsui Ti worsened, increasing from 30° to 45° during the day, the county said.
Aftershocks were still being felt as late as yesterday morning, causing the building to continue to tilt south by 1.5cm and west by 0.7cm, East Asia Aeronautics Mensuration Co owner Ni Han-chieh (倪漢傑) said, adding that the increased tilt of the building slowed after teams propped it up with seven steel beams.
The building at 3pm visibly moved 4cm within 10 minutes, causing Hualien County’s forward command base to suspend all search-and-rescue efforts until 5pm, the county said.
The command base at 5:51pm ordered search-and-rescue operations to resume, it added.
Three employees were trapped inside the collapsed Marshal Hotel, the county said, adding that Chen Ming-hui (陳明輝) was the first to be rescued at 4:40am.
After a sweep of the building, the Hualien County Fire Department in collaboration with helpers from Taichung and Taitung County were certain that all occupants on the fifth floor and above had been evacuated, which only left the two graveyard shift employees — 35-year-old Chou Chih-hsuan (周志軒) and 20-year-old Liang Shu-wei (梁書瑋) — unaccounted for, the county said.
Photo: Paul Yang, AFP
Sniffing dogs ascertained that both were still alive, but fearing further damage to the structural integrity of the building, the department was forced to chisel their way through.
Chou was extracted first in the afternoon, but was pronounced dead after being sent to the hospital, the county said, adding that Liang was later extracted and is under medical care.
About 423 search-and-rescue personnel, along with 20 search-and-rescue dogs from more than 17 counties and cities were involved in the rescue operations at the two buildings, Hualien County said.
The Ministry of National Defense also established temporary command headquarters in Hualien City to coordinate 661 military personnel, the county said, adding that more than 40 engineers also arrived on scene to offer technical assistance.
Former Hualien mayor Tsai Chi-ta (蔡啟塔) said he suspected that the severe damage to Yun Men Tsui Ti and the surrounding area was due to soil liquefaction brought about by the earthquake.
The Marshal Hotel and Yun Men Tsui Ti are near the Milun Fault, and the road surface near the hotel was damaged during an earthquake in 1951.
Photo: Peter Lo, Taipei Times
Additional reporting by Chang Yi-chen
CAUTION URGED: Strong winds and heavy rain are forecast throughout the nation, even though the CWB was not sure whether the eye would make landfall in Taiwan The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) yesterday issued a land warning for Typhoon Chanthu, as it continued to gain power while approaching Taiwan from the southeast. As of 8pm last night, Chanthu was about 410km southeast of Pingtung County’s Oluanpi (鵝鑾鼻), the southernmost point of Taiwan proper, moving northwest at 15kph toward the Bashi Channel. The typhoon had maximum sustained winds of 209kph, with gusts of up to 263kph, bureau data showed. Chanthu, which is likely to come closest to the nation over the weekend, could pose a threat throughout Taiwan proper, but particularly in Taitung and Pingtung, the bureau said. Strong winds and heavy
CLOSED FOR DISINFECTION: Two of the three local cases were linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten, while the other case works at a McDonald’s restaurant The Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) yesterday reported three new local COVID-19 infections and 11 imported cases, but no deaths. The local cases are two men and a woman aged between 20 and 80 who reside in Taipei, New Taipei City and Taoyuan, the CECC said in a news release. Two of them are linked to a cluster infection at a kindergarten in New Taipei City’s Banciao District (板橋), said Centers for Disease Control Deputy Director-General Chuang Jen-hsiang (莊人祥), who is the CECC’s spokesman. He said they are both associated with the mother of a kindergarten student, who was earlier confirmed to have
BIOLOGICAL AGENT: A containment exercise was held in southern Tainan, in response to a mock assault where troops were assumed to be attacked by bioweapons The live-fire component of this year’s annual Han Kuang military exercises, Taiwan’s major war games involving all military branches, began yesterday morning and is to run until Friday to test the armed forces’ capability to fend off a Chinese invasion. The 37th edition of the annual event officially began after the Ministry of National Defense’s Joint Operations Command Center, also known as the Hengshan Command Center, announced the initiation of the five-day live-fire drills. Yesterday’s drills were focused on testing the military’s preservation and maintenance of combat capabilities in the event of a full-scale Chinese invasion. As part of the drills, air force
‘RAISING TAIWAN’S VISIBILITY’: Premier Su Tseng-chang said changing TECRO’s name to include ‘Taiwan’ would make the representative office more recognizable The Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday declined comment on a Financial Times report that the name of Taiwan’s representative office in Washington might be changed, saying only that bolstering and upgrading ties with the US has been the government’s long-term objective. The ministry made the comments after the UK-based newspaper reported on that US President Joe Biden’s administration is considering allowing the government to use the word “Taiwan” in the office’s title. The US is “seriously considering a request from Taiwan to change the name of its mission in the US capital from ‘Taipei Economic and Cultural Representative Office’ [TECRO] to ‘Taiwan