A tall 17-floor residential complex ccompleted pancaked and collapsed after the massive earthquake struck southern Taiwan at 3:57 a.m. in the wee hours of darkness on Saturday.
A total of 198 people have been rescued ALIVE from the building, with at least 120 people remaining unaccounted for AND POSSIBLY BURIED IN THE RUBBLE AND DEAD.
“There are still 124 people waiting to be rescued, many of whom are trapped at the bottom of the wreckage,” Tainan Mayor William Lai (賴清德) said.
The mayor last night said rescuers were talking to two people, a male and a female trapped on different sides of the building.
He said rescue workers intended to pull them out, and then bring in heavier excavators to remove part of the structure so they could access the areas at the bottom.
During the morning, emergency workers pulled two survivors from the building: a 20-year-old man surnamed Huang (黃) and a 32-year-old man surnamed Chiu (邱), who were found on the 8th and 9th floors respectively
Both Huang and Chiu sustained multiple injuries and were rushed to the National Cheng Kung University Hospital.
Huang was pulled from a different section of the building from where he lived, showing how distorted the building is, Lai said, adding that rescuers could only see him through a 10cm crack and it took eight hours to get him out.
The body of a man was found about 1:50pm on the 12th floor. He was later identified as a 20-year-old surnamed Lin (林).
People waiting outside the building cheered at 3pm when a six-month-old girl was found alive on the 11th floor. However, she was later pronounced dead at National Cheng Kung University Hospital. The bodies of her parents were also found.
A woman injured in the quake, surnamed Liu (劉), who lost her husband and 10-day-old daughter in the quake, yesterday prayed her two sons would be found.
“When the earthquake struck, my husband [surnamed Kang (康)] heroically protected me and my daughter, but only I was rescued,” Liu said.
Tu Ming-chung (杜銘忠), an uncle of Kang’s, said Liu and Kang were preparing to feed their daughter when the quake struck.
“Kang sought to shield his wife and daughter with his body, but he was hit in the head by the falling ceiling. Liu tried to cover her daughter with a curtain, but the baby was pronounced dead after being pulled from the debris,” Tu said.
A FAMILY CAT SAVED ONE FAMILY!!!!!
Despite the rising death toll, emergency workers remained buoyed by an incident on Saturday, when a cat’s meowing helped them locate and rescue its two young owners, aged six and seven. The boys, surnamed Hu (胡), lived on the 10th floor of the Weiguan Jinlong building. Their father had been rescued shortly after the quake.
As the hours dragged by on Saturday and hopes of locating his sons appeared to be growing slim, the father swore an oath that he was willing to become a vegetarian in exchange for his boys’ safe return
About noon, rescuers began hearing a cat meow. Tracking the sound, they located the boys and pulled them out — along with the cat.
“I am so thankful to 'Meow Meow' [the cat’s name] for sticking by my sons’ side, rather than giving up and leaving. We have long treated him as part of the family, but will surely love him more in the future,” the father said.
Earlier, at 9:50 a.m., rescuers found an 18-year-old woman, surnamed Lai (賴), on the 16th floor, with no signs of life, almost eight hours after the bodies of her parents were discovered at about 2am.
The body of Lai’s 23-year-old sister was found on the same floor at 11am.
Rescuers were still searching for the Lais’ 15-year-old brother.
During their search, they came across several red envelopes that appear to have been given to the two sisters before the Lunar New Year.
The bodies of two children believed to be siblings — a 7-year-old girl and a 6-month-old boy — were discovered on the 10th floor around noon.
Family members said the pair were staying with their maternal grandmother — whose body was recovered on Saturday afternoon — because their father, a military officer surnamed Wang (王), had to remain at his post in Tainan.
Wang was waiting outside the Weiguan Jinlong building in the morning, hoping for good news, only to see the children’s bodies. But the news was grim.
“I just hope that the three of them can keep each other company in heaven,” he said.
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