Two survivors have been pulled from a collapsed apartment block in southern Taiwan more than two days after it was toppled in an earthquake, television stations reported.
On Monday morning a woman, named as Tsao Wei-ling, was found lying under her dead husband, said Wang Ting-yu, a legislator who represents the area. Their two-year-old son, who was also killed, was found lying nearby.
Eastern Broadcasting Corp. reported that Tsao Wei-ling called out “Here I am” as rescuers dug through to find her.
A second survivor named, a man named in reports as Li Tsung-tian, was also pulled out. Rescuers intend now to bring in heavier excavators to remove part of the structure on top of where he was to allow access lower levels.
More than 170 survivors have been rescued from the 17-storey apartment building that collapsed on Saturday after a powerful earthquake shook southern Taiwan.
The magnitude-6.4 quake killed at least 34 people and more than 100 remain buried in the rubble of the building in Tainan.
With the extended lunar New Year holiday – the most important family holiday in the Chinese calendar – beginning on Monday, celebrations were set to be subdued in Taiwan.
President Ma Ying-jeou and the president-elect, Tsai Ing-wen, cancelled the handing out of envelopes of cash in their hometowns, a holiday tradition for Taiwan’s leader.
Tainan mayor, Lai Ching-te, earlier said authorities estimated 124 people were still trapped at the site of the collapsed building, many at the bottom of the wreckage. He said rescuers were able to reach many people by using information from residents who escaped about possible locations of those still inside.
The spectacular fall of the high-rise, built in 1989, raised questions about its standard of construction. Tainan’s government said the building had not been listed as a dangerous structure, and Taiwan’s interior minister, Chen Wei-zen, said an investigation would examine whether the developer had cut corners.
Eighth-floor resident Huang Guang-wei was pulled out on Sunday morning from a different section to that where he lived, showing how distorted the building is, Lai said. Rescuers could see Huang only through a four-inch (10cm) crack and it took eight hours to get him out, Lai said.
Among the fatalities was a six-month-old girl who was pulled from the rubble and taken to hospital, where she was pronounced dead. A dead man believed to be her father was pulled out 40 minutes later, Wang said.
A man in his 60s, whose son escaped and whose daughter-in-law was in serious condition, was trying to help rescuers pinpoint his grandsons. “My 11- and 12-year-old grandsons are still inside on the ninth floor,” said the man, who gave only his surname, Huang. “I told my son not to buy an apartment here; it was suspiciously cheap.”
Beside him, another man nodded in agreement as he waited for news of his own relatives on the seventh floor.
The city government said 24 of the 26 confirmed deaths from the earthquake were from the building collapse. It said 171 people had been rescued from the building, 91 of whom were sent to hospitals.
More than 100 people were rescued from other parts of Tainan, eight of whom received hospital treatment. Nine other buildings in the city collapsed.
On Sunday, thousands of rescuers worked on different levels of the folded building, which was supported by steel pillars. Rescuer Su Yu-min said they were trying to cut through walls and pillars: “It takes a few hours to complete a search for just one household and sometimes it takes two hours just to go forward 30cm.”
Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan, but most are minor and cause little or no damage, although a magnitude-7.6 quake in central Taiwan in 1999 killed more than 2,300 people.