Strong earthquake kills 1, hits house, derails train in Taiwan

Strong earthquake kills 1, hits house, derails train in Taiwan

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — A powerful earthquake shook much of Taiwan Sunday, toppling a three-story building and temporarily trapping four people inside, stranding about 400 tourists on a mountainside and knocking part of a passenger train off its tracks.

One person died and nine were slightly injured, the Taiwan Emergency Center said.

The 6.8-magnitude quake was the largest among dozens to hit the island’s southeast coast since Saturday afternoon, when a 6.4 earthquake hit the same area.

Most of the damage appears to be north of the epicenter, which Taiwan’s Central Meteorological Bureau said was in the city of Chishang at a relatively shallow depth of 7 kilometers (4 miles).

In the nearby town of Iuli, a cement factory worker was killed and the three-story building, which had a 7-11 convenience store on the ground floor and residences above, collapsed, the island’s Central News Agency reported.

The 70-year-old owner of the building and his wife were rescued first, but it took longer to reach a 39-year-old woman and her 5-year-old daughter.

A photo released by the Hualien city government shows the girl lying on a blanket and being handed a metal ladder from the top of the wreckage by helmeted rescuers in orange suits.

The top two floors of the building were left sprawled across a small street and on the other side, with power lines pulled from the fallen structure.

More than 7,000 households were reported without power in July, while water pipes were also damaged. Bookshelves and musical instruments fell into Mount Carmel Presbyterian Church and a large crack ran through its floor. Outside, the sidewalk was broken into concrete slabs.

Police and firefighters responded to a collapsed bridge on a two-lane road in what appeared to be a rural part of the same city where three people and one or more vehicles may have fallen, according to media reports.

Also in July, a landslide trapped nearly 400 tourists on a mountain famous for the orange lilies that cover its slopes at this time of year, the Central News Agency reported. They had no electricity and a weak mobile signal.

Debris from a canopy falling on a platform at Dongli station in Fuli city, located between Yuli and the epicenter in Chishang, hit a passing train, derailing six cars, the Central News Agency reported, citing the railway administration. None of the 20 passengers were injured.

The tremor was felt on the island’s northern tip in the capital, Taipei. In the city of Taoyuan, west of Taipei and 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of the epicenter, a man was injured when a roof collapsed on the 5th floor of a sports center.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for several southern Japanese islands near Taiwan, but later lifted it.


Moritsugu reported from Beijing. Associated Press writer Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan, contributed to this report.

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