Rescuers continued Monday to pull survivors out of the rubble of a high-rise that collapsed when an earthquake hit southern Taiwan more than 58 hours ago, as teams searched for more than 100 missing people.
The survivors included a woman found alive under the body of her deceased husband in the 16-story building in hardest-hit Tainan city, and a man who doctors said would have to have his lower left leg amputated.
The official Central News Agency also reported that teams were trying to reach three more people found alive in the Weiguan Jinlong building.
According to official figures, the death toll from Saturday’s pre-dawn magnitude 6.4 earthquake stood at 38 as of Monday afternoon, while around 110 people remained unaccounted for.
Mayor Lai Ching-te was quoted as saying that the number of fatalities could increase to more than 100, mostly consisting of residents of the 16-story building in Yongkang District.
Local officials cited by the agency said that more 300 people have been rescued in Tainan, where around nine buildings collapsed.
Mayor Lai had earlier said that most of those still missing were trapped in lower stories, hindering rescue teams’ ability to access them.
Outside of Yongkang, two people were found dead Saturday in Gueiren District.
Residents in Taiwan’s south and central regions had recalled experiencing tremors resembling those felt in a magnitude 7.3 earthquake in 1999 that killed more than 2,400 people.
Interior Minister Chen Wei-zen told a press conference Saturday that authorities would conduct an investigation into the Weiguan Jinlong building, whose construction had been completed in November 1994.
According to the Central Weather Bureau, the epicenter of Saturday’s earthquake was located at a depth of 17 kilometers (10.6 miles) in neighboring Kaohsiung City’s Meinong District.
It reported that the most powerful tremors, which registered 6 on a seismic scale of 7, had even been felt in Yunlin County, around an hour’s drive to the north of Tainan.