Rescue work in aftermath of Hualien quake ends after 106 hours

2018/02/11 12:59:17 fontsize-small fontsize-default fontsize-big
Rescue workers withdrawing from Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex on Sunday in Hualien.

Rescue workers withdrawing from Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex on Sunday in Hualien.

Taipei, Feb. 11 (CNA) Rescue teams in Hualien brought their efforts to a halt Sunday morning after 106 hours of work in the wake of a deadly magnitude 6.0 earthquake in the eastern Taiwan county, Hualien County Magistrate Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) said.

The search and rescue operations were discontinued after the body of one of the two people who remained missing was found early Sunday.

The body was found at 4 a.m. Sunday in the rubble of the partially collapsed Yun Men Tsui Ti commercial and residential complex, bringing the death toll in the Feb. 6 quake to 16.

Rescue workers said they were unable to recover the body because it was lodged under heavy concrete pillars and beams.

Although the body had not yet been formally identified, the person found was believed to be one of five family members who were trapped in the Beauty Inn hotel, which occupied the first three floors of the Yun Men Tsui Ti building, rescue workers said.

On Saturday, rescue workers recovered three bodies from the rubble of the building, all members of the visiting Chinese family.

With the location of the fourth body on Sunday and one member of the family still unaccounted for, relatives of the ill-fated Chinese family have consented to the local government's plans to discontinue the search and to deploy heavy excavators at the site to recover the bodies, Fu said, adding that he was acting on the advice of experts in the field.

Meanwhile, Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) visited the site on Sunday and expressed gratitude to the rescue workers for the efforts over the 106 hours after the quake struck close to midnight on Feb. 6

As of Sunday noon, the death toll from the magnitude 6.0 quake stood at 16, while one person remained missing and 285 were reported injured, according to the Central Emergency Operations Center.

Of the 16 deaths caused by the earthquake, 13 were in the Yun Men Tsui Ti building.

(By Su Mu-chun, Liu Kuan-ting, Matt Yu and Evelyn Kao)
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