Search for Taiwan quake victims ends as toll rises to 17
Taipei: Rescuers on Sunday ended their search of a Taiwan building partially toppled by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake as the last trapped pair were presumed dead, bringing the final death toll to 17.
Thousands of emergency workers had combed through rubble at the foot of the 12-storey Yun Tsui apartment block since the quake struck the eastern city of Hualien late on Tuesday.
It was left leaning at around a 50-degree angle by the quake, complicating rescue efforts due to fears of an imminent collapse.
Hualien mayor Fu Kun-chi said the last two victims were pinned under heavy pillars that could not be removed without risking a total collapse of the building, and the rescue was called off with the consent of their relatives.
Excavators began digging through the building from the top later on Sunday to try to recover the bodies, he further added.
"Seventeen people were unfortunately killed in the earthquake ... I believe their relatives will receive proper assistance," Premier William Lai said while paying his respects to victims in Hualien on Sunday.