Sat, Feb 10, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Canadian couple’s bodies found in hotel rubble

HUMANITARIAN EFFORT:Singapore sent supplies as part of relief efforts, and the county government has opened a center to begin distributing funds to victims

Staff Writer, with CNA

Buddhist Compassion Relief Tzu Chi Foundation volunteers pray yesterday near the partially collapsed Yun Men Tsui Ti building as an ambulance delivers the bodies of a Canadian couple to a hospital mortuary in Hualien.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

The bodies of two Canadians were yesterday pulled from the rubble of a 12-story building that partly collapsed in an earthquake in Hualien on Tuesday, bringing the death toll to 12, rescue workers said.

Peter So (蘇煒禧) and Freda So (蕭敏渝) were staying at the Beauty Inn (漂亮生活旅店) in the Yun Men Tsui Ti (雲門翠堤) building, one of the structures that tipped over in the magnitude 6.0 quake.

Their bodies were found next to each other at about 3:29pm yesterday, rescue workers said, adding that the woman was crushed under a pillar.

The bodies were taken to a hospital mortuary and their identities were confirmed, National Fire Agency Director-General Chen Wen-lung (陳文龍) said.

A Chinese family of five remain missing and are believed to be inside the Beauty Inn, which occupied the first three floors of the Yun Men Tsui Ti building.

The building’s extreme displacement made the search difficult, the government said in a statement.

“The space for our operations is small, so the progress of search-and-rescue can be slow,” it said.

More than 200 aftershocks have followed Tuesday’s quake, hampering an around-the-clock rescue effort in which emergency personnel have battled rain and cold to comb rubble in a search for survivors.

As of press time last night, the number of deaths had risen to 12, while the number of people injured had reached 278.

Singapore sent one military aircraft loaded with supplies to Hualien yesterday, the Hualien County Government said in a statement, adding that the C-130 transport aircraft arrived at about 3pm, carrying medical supplies, tents and flashlights.

Ministry of National Defense spokesman Major General Chen Chung-chi (陳中吉) said that the arrival of the supplies is part of a humanitarian assistance cooperation effort.

“We are grateful for the gesture,” Chen said.

Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi(傅崐萁)said people affected by the quake would receive subsidies ahead of the Lunar New Year holidays, which begin on Thursday.

The county government yesterday opened a service center to distribute the subsidies from the NT$300 million (US$10.2 million) disaster relief fund issued by the Executive Yuan.

Meanwhile, the Ministry of Education said the number of schools damaged in the earthquake rose to 195, with losses estimated at more than NT$125 million.

Hualien, where the total loss at schools is estimated at NT$104 million, suffered the most damage, followed by Miaoli County at NT$5.6 million and Hsinchu at NT$3.3 million, it said.

Additional reporting by Wang Chun-chi, Chang Yi-chen, and Ann Maxon

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