Taiwan earthquake death toll climbs to 10, with hundreds still stranded


(NEW YORK) — The death toll from Wednesday’s powerful 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Taiwan climbed to 10 people on Thursday, with hundreds more stranded or trapped, Taiwanese officials said.

At least 11 people were missing and some 705 people were in need of rescue, authorities said.

A total of 688 people, up from the previous tally of 611, were stranded near the Silks Palace Hotel and Tien Hsiang Youth Activity Center, officials said in a Thursday night local time update. The rescue team, which had set up a post there, will provide necessary aid in case of emergencies and find ways to get them out.

Ten Silks Palace Hotel employees were still stranded at the Jiuqu Cave area, but that total was down from 30 employees and 24 tourists earlier Thursday.

Six students at Tung Hua University also remained stranded, officials said.

The 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit just before 8 a.m. Wednesday, with an epicenter near Hualien, a city on the eastern coast. More than 100 aftershocks, including one with a preliminary magnitude of 6.5, also near Hualien, have struck the island, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

Search and rescue personnel had reached some of those stranded at the Silks Palace Hotel early Thursday, including one who appeared to have broken legs, Minister of the Interior Lin Yu-chang said in a social media post.

Aerial cameras spotted others in a minibus on Taiwan Highway 8, a route that cuts through the area.

“Now, we are also asking the Meteorological Agency to make the latest weather forecast to see if the weather allows the aircrew to carry relevant personnel and supplies into the Tianxiang area,” Lin said. “As long as the weather allows, we will take every minute to rescue the people trapped and in need of rescue.”

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