A powerful earthquake struck in southern Taiwan Saturday, toppling buildings and leaving at least seven people dead and hundreds more injured, officials said.

The 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck about 30 miles east of Tainan, a city of more than 1.8 million, just before 4 a.m. (3 p.m. Friday E.T.), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

At least 403 people were hurt in the quake, which caused nine buildings to topple and five more to tilt, Taiwan’s National Fire Agency said.

Buildings Collapse, Many Trapped After Earthquake Rocks Taiwan 1:17
http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/6-4-magnitude-earthquake-strikes-taiwan-n512461

The 16-story Wei Guan residential building in Tainan collapsed, setting off a frantic search effort that involved more than 200 firefighters, authorities said. Other buildings were left tilted at alarming angles.

Five people were killed inside the collapsed Wei Guan building where at least 11 residents remain missing, according to the National Fire Agency. A 10-day-old baby is among the dead, Reuters reported.

Two more people died in Tainan’s Gueiren District, including a woman who was hit by a fallen water tower and who was in one of the tilted buildings.

Gallery: Rescuers Search for Survivors After Taiwan Earthquake

In all, 245 people were removed from the damaged building, the National Fire Agency said. Sixty-eight of those rescued were hospitalized, the agency said.

“I was watching TV and after a sudden burst of shaking, I heard a boom. I opened my metal door and saw the building opposite fall down,” a 71-year-old neighbor who gave his name as Chang told Reuters.

Image:
Rescuers are seen entering an office building that collapsed on its side from an early morning earthquake in Tainan, southern Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. AP

Chang, a plumber, fetched some tools and a ladder and pried open some window bars to rescue a woman crying for help.

“She asked me to go back and rescue her husband, child, but I was afraid of a gas explosion so I didn’t go in,” Chang told Reuters. “At the time there were more people calling for help, but my ladder wasn’t long enough so there was no way to save them.”

Taiwan President Ma Ying-jeou said every effort was being taken to rescue survivors. A 1,200-bed shelter was established at a nearby military school.

The earthquake occurred at a depth of around 14 miles, and Tainan was the hardest hit city, the U.S.G.S. said.

Image:
Rescue workers search a collapsed building from an early morning earthquake in Tainan, Taiwan, Saturday, Feb. 6, 2016. Wally Santana / AP

Saturday’s earthquake could be felt in the capital of Taipei, located on the other side of the island, where the shaking was so violent it awoke many in the city, Reuters reporter Yimou Lee said in a phone interview.

Taiwan is situated on the seismically active “Ring of Fire.” A massive 7.3-magnitude earthquake that struck in the central Taiwan in 1999 killed about 2,400 people.

China’s government has offered assistance to Taiwan and expressed condolences for the victims, state run media Xinhua reported.

http://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/6-4-magnitude-earthquake-strikes-taiwan-n512461

**********************

Daily Mail

At least five people have died including a ten-day-old baby after a 6.4 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan in the early hours of this morning, causing a 17-storey apartment building to collapse.

Emergency crews are working to free hundreds more people who are feared trapped after the quake struck the southern city of Tainan at around 4am at the start of the Chinese New Year holidays, according to Taiwan’s state news agency.

A ten-day-old girl was reported to have died in the disaster alongside a 50-year-old man who was found in the same apartment. Another man, 40, was reportedly killed, as was a 55-year-old woman, according to an emergency response center in Tainan.

Fire crews told Channel News Asia that another woman was killed by a falling water tank at a different location, but did not give any more details.

Scroll down for video 

Alive: Fire crews are pictured pulling a stunned infant from the wreckage of a 17-storey apartment building in the city of Tainan, Taiwan, after an earthquake struck this morning killing three and leaving hundreds more trapped

Alive: Fire crews are pictured pulling a stunned infant from the wreckage of a 17-storey apartment building in the city of Tainan, Taiwan, after an earthquake struck this morning killing three and leaving hundreds more trapped

A young girl stares into the camera after being pulled alive from the remains of a 17-storey apartment block that collapsed in Tainan City

A young girl stares into the camera after being pulled alive from the remains of a 17-storey apartment block that collapsed in Tainan City

.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3434250/People-feared-trapped-collapsed-buildings-6-4-magnitude-earthquake-shakes-Taiwan.html#ixzz3zNLcwiWo
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook

***************************

 

Rescue personnel help a victim at a damaged building after an earthquake in Tainan, southern Taiwan, February 6, 2016.
REUTERS/STRINGER
Rescue personnel work on damaged buildings after an earthquake in Tainan, southern Taiwan, February 6, 2016.
REUTERS/PICHI CHUANG
.
TAINAN, TAIWAN |
.
Reuters
.

A powerful earthquake struck Taiwan on Saturday killing at least seven people, most in a 17-storey apartment building that collapsed, with about 35 people still feared trapped there hours into a rescue operation.

As a search for survivors in the rubble went on, questions were being raised about the construction of the Wei-guan Golden Dragon Building, with its floors that pancaked down on each other when the 6.4 magnitude tremor hit at around 4 a.m. (2000 GMT), at the start of a Lunar New Year holiday.

Five of the dead, including a 10-day-old girl, were from the apartment building in the southern city of Tainan.

Rescuers mounted hydraulic ladders and a crane to scour the ruins, plucking more than 220 survivors to safety, with dozens taken to hospital, a fire brigade official said.

Buildings in nine other locations in the city of 2 million people had collapsed and five were left tilting at alarming angles, a government emergency centre said.

But a fire department official said rescue efforts were focused on the apartment block, where a child’s clothes fluttered from a first-floor laundry line and the smell of leaking gas hung in the air.

“I was watching TV and after a sudden burst of shaking, I heard a boom. I opened my metal door and saw the building opposite fall down,” said a 71-year-old neighbour who gave his name as Chang.

A plumber, he said he fetched some tools and a ladder and prised some window bars open to rescue a woman crying for help.

“She asked me to go back and rescue her husband, child, but I was afraid of a gas explosion so I didn’t go in. At the time there were more people calling for help, but my ladder wasn’t long enough so there was no way to save them.”

The quake was centred 43 km (27 miles) southeast of Tainan, at a depth of 23 km (14 miles), the U.S. Geological Survey said.

An elderly woman, wrapped in blankets, was strapped to a board and slowly slid down a ramp to the ground as the cries of those still trapped rang out. Rescuers used dogs and acoustic equipment to pick up signs of life in the rubble.

Authorities said there were 96 units and 256 people living in the collapsed apartment building, but they did not know how many were actually there when the quake struck.

The fire department said 115 people had been taken to hospital from around Tainan.

Liu Shih-chung, city government deputy secretary general, said television footage of the ruins of the commercial-residential building suggested the possibility of structural problems related to poor-quality reinforced steel and cement.

The construction and engineering companies that built the complex are no longer operating, records showed.

Two neighbours said they had felt nervous about the construction when the building was going up in the 1990s.

“I looked at it and thought, only people from out of town would buy there. We local people would never dare,” said one of the neighbours, Yang Shu-mei.

A major earthquake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed about 2,400 people and caused damage across the island, which lies in the seismically active “Pacific Ring of Fire”.

President Ma Ying-jeou visited an emergency centre and hospital in Tainan while President-elect Tsai Ing-wen cancelled appointments to help coordinate rescue efforts.

China’s Taiwan Affairs Office, which is in charge of Beijing’s relations with the self-ruled island, said China was willing to provide help if needed, Chinese state news agency Xinhua said. Beijing regards Taiwan as a wayward province.

The quake initially cut power to 168,000 households in Tainan though utility Taiwan Power Co later said electricity had been restored to all but about 900 households.

Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (TSMC), the world’s largest contract chipmaker, said some of its wafers made in Tainan had been damaged and some customers might be affected, though first-quarter shipments remained on track.

TSMC will step up production to make up for any delayed shipments, spokeswoman Elizabeth Sun said. It is a big supplier to global smartphone firms, including Apple Inc.

Other major Apple suppliers in Taiwan reported no impact on operations.

(Reporting by Faith Hung and Pichi Chuang; Additional reporting by Yimou Lee, J.R. Wu, Carol Lee, Eric Walsh, Eric Beech, Elizabeth Dilts, Jeanny Kao and Ben Blanchard; Writing by Mark Bendeich; Editing by Robert Birsel and Christopher Cushing)