Magnitude 6.4 earthquake hits Taiwan

A 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck off the east coast of Taiwan, according to the United States Geological Survey. Witness Maggie Lewis describes the scene.

Posted: Feb 7, 2018 2:01 PM
Updated: Feb 7, 2018 2:01 PM

Dozens of people are missing following a deadly earthquake in Taiwan, with more than 40 feared trapped in a multistory building tilting perilously in the northeastern city of Hualien.

The magnitude 6.4 quake struck 22 kilometers (13 miles) north of the city late Tuesday, killing at least seven people and injuring 262 others. It also damaged bridges and buckled roads in the east of the island.

Video from the site of the quake showed smoke rising from collapsed buildings on Wednesday morning as firefighters patrolled streets full of rubble.

Emergency workers used enormous beams, raised with a crane, to prop up the Yun Men Tsui Ti building, a large residential and commercial complex, which leaned ominously over the street below.

Of 63 people still missing in the city, 11 are believed to be inside a bed-and-breakfast called the Beauty Inn in the Yun Men Tsui Ti building, according to the Tourism Bureau. An additional 37 residents registered in the building have not been reached, although it's unclear if they were there when the quake struck.

It's one of four buildings in the city that were either tilting or had collapsed, authorities said.

At the flattened Marshal Hotel in downtown Hualien, rescuers reached two workers who had been trapped near the main counter in the lobby, Taiwan's official news agency, CNA, reported Wednesday.

One appeared dazed as rescue workers escorted him out. The other didn't survive.

Numerous aftershocks followed Tuesday and Wednesday. At least 15 aftershocks, measuring as much as 4.8 magnitude, shook the area on Wednesday afternoon and evening alone, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau.

Meanwhile, 600 military personnel and more than 750 firefighters combed through rubble and helped with rescue efforts, according to Taiwan's Central Emergency Operation Center.

One of the dead was a Chinese tourist who was visiting with her son, according to CNA. She passed away Wednesday evening after suffering a head injury during the quake, the news agency reported.

Nine Japanese were injured and taken to the hospital, authorities said, but they have all been released. In total, 31 foreigners were affected, including 14 South Koreans, two Czechs, two Singaporeans and one Filipino, CNA reported.

Hualien is close to Taiwan's famous Taroko Gorge, a popular tourist destination.

Photos on state media showed the narrow highway in and out of the gorge on Wednesday morning covered in rocks, rubble and other debris from the earthquake.

Hundreds of Hualien residents whose homes were destroyed took shelter at a local stadium, with relief organizations providing emergency supplies.

Some 1,900 households lost power in the wake of Tuesday's quake, but most had it restored by Wednesday morning, according to the Central Emergency Operation Center.

However, an estimated 35,000 residents were still without water, the center said.

Pacific Ring of Fire

The quake struck late Tuesday in the East China Sea, north of Hualien, an eastern county that's home to more than 350,000 people.

The temblor was felt as far away as the capital, Taipei, about 120 kilometers (74 miles) to the north, according to reports sent to the US Geological Survey.

Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen visited the site of the earthquake Wednesday. Tsai thanked the island's first responders in a message on her official Twitter account.

Taiwan is situated on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which runs around the edge of the Pacific Ocean and is known for causing massive seismic and volcanic activity from Indonesia to Chile.

The island is regularly rocked by earthquakes. A magnitude 6.4 quake hit in 2016, killing 40 people. The biggest earthquake in recent memory was a 7.3 temblor that killed 2,400 people in 1999.

'We're going to sleep in the tent'

Jason Grenier, a Canadian living with his Taiwanese wife and daughter just south of Hualien, said Wednesday that their home is intact and they have power and water. But the family was poised to spend a second straight night sleeping outside, wary of possible aftershocks.

Tuesday night's quake was the most violent he's felt in his 17 years on the island, he said. It jolted his family awake and sent him scrambling for his 7-year-old daughter and running outside.

"Sometimes (earthquakes) kind of slam you up and down -- it's like the whole house jumps. Sometimes it's like a rocking. This was like a combination of everything all at once ... you could hear the earth groaning," Grenier, an instructor at National Dong Hwa University, said Wednesday.

The Greniers spent the rest of the night in a vehicle. On Wednesday, they pitched a tent on their property.

"Even tonight, we're going to sleep in the tent, I think," Grenier said. "Because every time there is a temblor, you have to get up and decide if you're going to bolt. It doesn't make for a restful sleep."

'Nerves are jangled'

Laura Lo, a worker at a 7-Eleven convenience store across the street from the Marshal Hotel, said the first and second floors of the hotel appeared to be severely damaged.

Her store also suffered broken glass, she said, and roads in the area were closed.

An employee at the Park City Hotel down the street told CNN he felt the quake but there was no damage at his location.

Margaret K. Lewis, a law professor living in Taipei, said she felt prolonged swaying at her high-rise apartment building in the Beitou District in the northern part of the city.

"Nothing broken, and two children slept peacefully through the event. We have since felt a few mild aftershocks," Lewis said in an email. "Nerves are jangled, but otherwise all appears well. I have not been outside to look for damage, but my expectation is that my area is generally fine."

Terre Haute
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 62°
Robinson
Overcast
62° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 41°
Feels Like: 62°
Indianapolis
Overcast
55° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 55°
Rockville
Overcast
53° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 53°
Casey
Broken Clouds
61° wxIcon
Hi: 65° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 61°
Brazil
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 62°
Marshall
Broken Clouds
62° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 43°
Feels Like: 62°
Showers Today!
WTHI Planner
WTHI Temps
WTHI Radar

Latest Video

Image

Support group aims to prevent suicide among first responders

Image

Monday: Showers, cooler. High: 64

Image

Sunday Evening Forecast

Image

Woman remembers national hero

Image

Terre Haute Symphony Orchestra Concert

Image

Athletes clean up Wabashiki

Image

High speed police chase ends in Vermillion county with gunfire

Image

Farms open for Fall season

Image

Annual Fall-out Ride

Image

'Cruisin' for Cruisers' car show

WTHI Events

 

Illinois Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 7 p.m. CT)

Confirmed Cases: 290373

Reported Deaths: 8845
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Cook1436345210
DuPage17471561
Lake16892487
Will13984378
Kane13092326
St. Clair6607190
Winnebago5959149
Madison5698136
Champaign470320
McHenry4581118
Peoria349450
McLean327923
Rock Island299576
Kankakee274177
Unassigned2537244
Sangamon241145
Kendall200925
Tazewell177425
LaSalle171257
DeKalb157938
Macon154444
Coles146430
Williamson140145
Jackson126124
Clinton116920
Boone112523
Adams112310
Randolph93911
Effingham8702
Vermilion7704
Whiteside74320
Ogle7106
Monroe67416
Knox6703
Grundy6695
Henry6665
Morgan66123
Bureau64111
Jefferson61138
Marion5540
Macoupin5447
Christian53911
Franklin5393
Stephenson5236
Union51524
McDonough48015
Logan4641
Crawford4503
Woodford4246
Fayette4183
Cass39811
Livingston3956
Jersey39215
Shelby3904
Montgomery37213
Lee3711
Iroquois36519
Perry35015
Saline3404
Warren3322
Bond3285
Douglas3127
Wayne2805
Jo Daviess2632
Lawrence2562
Carroll2305
Greene22711
Cumberland2175
Hancock2173
Moultrie2143
Jasper2119
Washington2111
Richland2095
Pulaski1801
Fulton1760
Clark1732
White1680
Johnson1560
Clay1540
Wabash1543
Mason1471
Piatt1400
Mercer1395
Pike1281
Menard1251
De Witt1221
Edgar1138
Massac1122
Ford1065
Marshall1040
Alexander811
Scott780
Gallatin732
Hamilton682
Henderson660
Edwards630
Brown610
Calhoun600
Putnam570
Stark552
Schuyler500
Hardin400
Pope291
Out of IL20

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

(Widget updates once daily at 8 p.m. ET)

Confirmed Cases: 117450

Reported Deaths: 3580
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion21403766
Lake10618323
Elkhart6667111
St. Joseph6576110
Allen6292203
Hamilton4909109
Vanderburgh371931
Hendricks2747123
Monroe262736
Tippecanoe252313
Johnson2338124
Clark223657
Porter217647
Delaware198562
Cass19549
Vigo184327
Madison168975
LaPorte147441
Floyd138963
Warrick134440
Howard131863
Kosciusko124817
Bartholomew117957
Marshall101224
Dubois99119
Boone98646
Grant93334
Hancock93243
Noble92532
Henry80926
Jackson7689
Wayne76814
Morgan72938
Daviess67728
Shelby67729
Dearborn66528
LaGrange63911
Clinton60914
Harrison58724
Putnam58112
Gibson5305
Knox5259
Lawrence51529
Montgomery51121
DeKalb48711
White48614
Decatur45839
Miami4383
Greene42735
Fayette42313
Jasper3992
Steuben3877
Scott38111
Posey3400
Sullivan33812
Jennings31612
Franklin31125
Ripley3038
Clay3025
Orange28824
Whitley2796
Carroll27713
Adams2743
Wabash2718
Washington2691
Starke2677
Wells2654
Spencer2593
Jefferson2483
Huntington2453
Fulton2412
Tipton22822
Perry22113
Randolph2207
Jay1880
Newton17311
Owen1711
Martin1680
Pike1621
Rush1574
Vermillion1300
Fountain1282
Blackford1203
Pulaski1131
Crawford1080
Brown1043
Parke1032
Benton870
Ohio797
Union790
Switzerland690
Warren401
Unassigned0226