New footage shows 7.4-magnitude quake hit TV studio live on air as 80 are trapped in tunnels and death toll hits nine

New footage shows 7.4-magnitude quake hit TV studio live on air as 80 are trapped in tunnels and death toll hits nine
New footage shows 7.4-magnitude quake hit TV studio live on air as 80 are trapped in tunnels and death toll hits nine

By David Averre

11:31 03 Apr 2024, updated 13:28 03 Apr 2024

Share or comment on this article:

A group of terrified Taiwanese citizens looked to be heading to an early grave as a huge earthquake sent a 10-storey building hurting towards them – only for the structure to grind to a halt at a near-45-degree angle.

Shocking footage captured by security cameras showed the moment the red brick building shook violently and began to fall, spraying dust and debris into the street below as the people below sprinted for safety or dove into their cars for protection.

For a second it looked as though they were doomed to be crushed by tons of bricks and mortar, but thanks to Taiwan’s strict building regulations the earthquake-proof property miraculously remained standing, saving dozens of lives.

The magnitude-7.4 quake struck just before 8:00 am local time (0000 GMT), with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) putting the epicenter 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of Taiwan’s Hualien City, at a depth of 34.8 kilometers.

Nine people are confirmed dead – several of whom perished in a landslide on a mountain road out of Hualien next to the entrance of a tunnel.

Breathtaking images showed how the road approaching the tunnel was completely wiped out by the landslide, with boulders smashing the tarmac to bits and sending it crumbling into the valley below.

The magnitude-7.4 quake struck just before 8:00 am local time (0000 GMT), with the United States Geological Survey (USGS) putting the epicenter 18 kilometers (11 miles) south of Taiwan’s Hualien City, at a depth of 34.8 kilometers.
Shocking footage captured by security cameras showed the moment the red brick building shook violently and began to fall
For a second it looked as though the terrified people in the street were doomed to be crushed by tons of bricks and mortar
Somehow the earthquake-proofed property miraculously remained standing, saving dozens of lives
This photo taken by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) on April 3, 2024 shows a damaged building in Hualien, after a major earthquake hit Taiwan’s east

Now large-scale rescue efforts are underway as workers rush to free dozens of people trapped under the rubble of their homes.

Photos have shown teams in protective clothing squeezing themselves into small gaps to pull out injured citizens.

More than 900 people are reported to have been injured by the National Fire Service, with 127 believed trapped.

Around 80 of those are stuck in motorway tunnels around Hualien – a mountain-ringed coastal city of around 100,000 people that has been cut off by the quake.

Morning news broadcasts were interrupted by the brutal tremor, with a clip from one newsroom’s cameras showing how studio lights swung erratically from the ceiling while a newsreader was almost knocked over as the floor trembled beneath her feet.

The presenter, who remained incredibly composed, tried to continue narrating from the teleprompter but fell back and had to brace herself on the screens behind.

Officials said the quake was the strongest to shake the island in decades, and warned of more tremors in the days ahead.

The quake and aftershocks also caused 24 landslides and damage to 35 roads, bridges and tunnels.

Social media was awash with shared video and images from around the country of buildings swaying as the quake struck, while others partially collapsed and debris sprayed into the streets.

Traffic along the east coast was at a virtual standstill, with landslides and falling debris hitting tunnels and roads in the mountainous region. Those caused damage to vehicles.

A massive landslide following the brutal earthquake in Hualien wiped away a main road
This handout from the Hualien Fire Department taken and released on April 3, 2024 shows a man looking at debris across a road in Hualien, after a major earthquake hit Taiwan’s east.
Members of a rescue team searching for survivors in a damaged building in Hualien
This handout from the Hualien Fire Department taken and released on April 3, 2024 shows a car and bridge (background) damaged in Hualien
Footage captured by the newsroom cameras showed how lights swung violently from the ceiling while a newsreader was almost knocked over as the studio floor trembled beneath her feet
The magnitude-7.4 quake struck just before 8:00 am local time (0000 GMT) and interrupted the morning broadcast
The Lishan Fire Brigades help stabilize an injured driver following a landslide
A bus narrowly avoided being smashed by a boulder on the Zhonghengbian Road out of Hualien
Roads crack at Taipingshan Park due to earthquake as at least four people were killed and hundreds of others injured after a magnitude 7.4 earthquake struck off Taiwan’s eastern coast
Video showed water from a rooftop pool cascading down a skyscraper amid the terrifying earthquake
This photo taken by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) on April 3, 2024 shows people looking at a damaged building in Hualien
This photo taken by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) on April 3, 2024 shows a damaged building in Hualien, after a major earthquake hit Taiwan’s east

Strict building regulations and disaster awareness appear to have staved off a major catastrophe for the island, which is regularly hit by earthquakes as it lies near the junction of two tectonic plates.

But the death toll is likely to increase in the coming hours with hundreds of people injured and many missing.

Officials said the quake was the strongest since a 7.6-magnitude struck in September 1999, killing around 2,400 people in the deadliest natural disaster in the island’s history.

Dramatic images were shown on local TV of multi-storey structures in Hualien and elsewhere tilting after it ended, while a warehouse in New Taipei City crumbled.

The mayor there said more than 50 survivors had been successfully plucked from the ruins of the structure.

‘I wanted to run out, but I wasn’t dressed. That was so strong,’ said Kelvin Hwang, a guest at a hotel in the capital, Taipei, who sought shelter in the lift lobby on the ninth floor.

‘Earthquakes are a common occurrence, and I’ve grown accustomed to them. But today was the first time I was scared to tears by an earthquake,’ said Taipei resident Hsien-hsuen Keng.

‘I was awakened by the earthquake. I had never felt such intense shaking before.’

She said her fifth-floor apartment shook so hard that ‘apart from earthquake drills in elementary school, this was the first time I had experienced such a situation.’

This photo taken by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) on April 3, 2024 shows rescue workers searching for survivors trapped in a damaged building in New Taipei City
Massive waves threatened to engulf a swimmer who was in a pool when the earthquake struck around 9am local time on Wednesday
Firefighters work at the site where a building collapsed following the earthquake, in Hualien, Taiwan
This photo taken by Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA) on April 3, 2024 shows emergency workers attending to a survivor, who had been trapped in a damaged building, in New Taipei City
Images from Hualien, on the east coast of Taiwan close to the epicenter, showed a large glass-fronted building partially collapsed onto its front
Dramatic images of Hualien show massive dust clouds thrown up by a landslide created as a result of the powerful quake
This handout photo from the Taichung City Government’s Fire Bureau taken and released on April 3, 2024 shows rocks blocking part of the road on a section of a highway in Taichung, after a major earthquake hit Taiwan’s east
Commuters grip the handrails aboard a Taipei metro during the 7.4 earthquake on Wednesday
The quake struck shortly before 9am Japan time (12am GMT, 1am UK time) on Taiwan’s eastern edge, south of the coastal city of Hualien
Rocks blocking part of the road on a section of a highway in Taichung, after a major earthquake hit Taiwan’s east
Members of a rescue team searching for survivors in a damaged building in Hualien
The wreckage of a printing company’s factory after it collapsed following a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in New Taipei
A view of a landslide after an earthquake hit just off the eastern coast of Taiwan
The wreckage of a printing company’s factory after it collapsed following a magnitude 7.5 earthquake in New Taipei, Taiwan, 03 April 2024

Local TV channels showed bulldozers clearing rocks along roads to Hualien, a mountain-ringed coastal city of around 100,000 people that was cut off by landslides.

President Tsai Ing-wen called for local and central government agencies to coordinate with each other, and said that the national army would also be providing support.

In Taiwan, Japan and the Philippines, authorities initially issued a tsunami warning but by around 10 am (0200 GMT), the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said the threat had ‘largely passed’.

In the capital, the metro briefly stopped running but resumed within an hour, while residents received warnings from their local borough chiefs to check for any gas leaks.

Taiwan is regularly hit by earthquakes as the island lies near the junction of two tectonic plates, while nearby Japan experiences around 1,500 jolts every year.

Across the Taiwan Strait, social media users in China’s eastern Fujian province, which borders Guangdong in the south, and elsewhere said they also felt strong tremors.

Residents of Hong Kong also reported feeling the earthquake.

China, which claims self-ruled Taiwan as a renegade province, was ‘paying close attention’ to the quake and ‘willing to provide disaster relief assistance,’ state news agency Xinhua said.

Fabrication at Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company – the world’s biggest chip maker – was briefly interrupted at some plants, a company official told AFP, while work at construction sites for new plants was halted for the day.

The vast majority of quakes around the area are mild, although the damage they cause varies according to the depth of the epicenter below the Earth’s surface and its location.

A red building is partially collapsed after a powerful 7.3-magnitude earthquake rocked the entire island on April 3, 2024 in Hualien County, Taiwan
This handout from the Hualien Fire Department taken and released on April 3, 2024 shows a cord and broken glass seen around a McDonald’s outlet in Hualien
The building in Hualien as seen from another angle – leaning at a heavy angle, its ground floor crushed
Multiple videos of the building in the east coast island city show it keeled over, jolted from its foundations by the 7.7-magnitude tremor
Videos shared on social media showed homes being shaken by the quake as items were flung from shelves onto the floor below
Damage to a building in New Taipei City, after a major earthquake hit Taiwan’s east
Roughly 87,000 homes across the country were left without power, while trains and flights were also canceled
A major 7.4-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan’s east on the morning of April 3, prompting tsunami warnings for the self-ruled island as well as parts of southern Japan and the Philippines
Emergency workers assisting a survivor after he was rescued from a damaged building in New Taipei City

The severity of tsunamis – vast and potentially destructive series of waves that can move at hundreds of kilometers per hour – also depends on multiple factors.

Japan’s biggest earthquake on record was a massive 9.0-magnitude undersea jolt in March 2011 off Japan’s northeast coast, which triggered a tsunami that left around 18,500 people dead or missing.

The 2011 catastrophe also sent three reactors into meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant, causing Japan’s worst post-war disaster and the most serious nuclear accident since Chernobyl.

Japan saw a major quake on New Year’s Day this year, when a 7.5-magnitude tremor hit the Noto Peninsula and killed more than 230 people, many of them when older buildings collapsed.

 
For Latest Updates Follow us on Google News
 

-

PREV how to celebrate the star strain of Argentine wines
NEXT Woman sentenced for murder of man killed with sword hidden in cane – NBC10 Philadelphia