Friday, November 27, 2015   

SAR travelers safe after killer quake

Beatrice Siu

Thursday, March 28, 2013

A strong earthquake shook central Taiwan yesterday, killing at least one person and injuring more than 80 others.

Tourists from Hong Kong were all safe, travel agencies said.

The Hong Kong Observatory said the temblor struck Nantou county at 10.03am and had a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale. Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau said it measured 6.1 and was felt throughout the island. The quake's depth was a relatively shallow 15 kilometers.

Buildings swayed and were damaged and sections of the high-speed rail line in Taipei were suspended from service to be inspected for damage. Five aftershocks measuring from 3.7 to 4.3 in magnitude occurred in the two hours after the main tremor, which also triggered two blazes in homes.

Rescue officials said a 72-year-old woman died when a temple wall collapsed and crushed her in Nantou, about 250 kilometers south of Taipei.

Many of the injured in the county and in nearby Changhua and Taichung areas were hit by falling objects.

Nantou is near the epicenter of a magnitude-7.6 quake that killed more than 2,300 people in 1999.

Travel Industry Council executive director Joseph Tung Yiu-chung said none of the hundreds of Hong Kong tourists in Taiwan had been hurt.

Package Tour Travel Service said it has three tours, including an around-the-island tour which was at Ailishan and close to the epicenter. The other tours were in the southern part of the island and in Taipei. The around-the-island five-day tour, which has 24 tou
rists, started on Tuesday and is scheduled to return to Hong Kong on Saturday.

The travelers are all safe and will continue their trip, a spokesman said.

Hong Thai Travel Services said it has six tours comprising 150 tourists in Taichung. They have no plans to change their routes or return to Hong Kong earlier than scheduled.

EGL executive director Steve Huen Kwok- chuen said his agency has 13 tours with 400 tourists. Six of the tours are in Taichung.

"Since the attractions remained normal, tours for today and the Easter holiday will not be affected," he said.

A spokeswoman for Wing On Travel said it has 20 tours in Taiwan with 500 tourists. The trips will not be shortened.

Meanwhile, Taiwan officials said a section of ceiling in a government office near the epicenter fell off and injured a worker. In Taichung, ceiling and lamp panels in a government office also fell off while cracks were found in the walls.

A motel boss in Taichung said: "The earthquake was very serious and it was terrible."

At the famous tourist attraction Sun Moon Lake, in Nantou, hundreds of visitors were shaken but no one was hurt.

A Hong Kong resident living on the island said the quake was so strong "it was just like sitting on a boat."

Earthquakes frequently rattle Taiwan but most are minor and cause little or no damage.

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