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Taiwan hit by huge earthquake, nine killed and 70 miners trapped

THE strongest earthquake in a quarter-century rocked Taiwan during today’s morning rush hour, killing nine people, trapping dozens of miners and sending some residents scrambling out the windows of damaged buildings.

About 934 people were also injured by the tremor.

The quake, which also injured hundreds, was centred off the coast of rural, mountainous Hualien County, where some buildings leaned at severe angles, their ground floors crushed.

Ninety-three miles away in the city of Taipei, tiles fell from older buildings, and schools evacuated their students to sports fields, equipping them with yellow safety helmets. 

Television images showed neighbours and rescue workers lifting residents, including a toddler, through windows and onto the street, after doors fused shut in the shaking. 

Heien-hsuen Keng, a resident who lives in a fifth floor apartment in Taipei, said: “I’ve grown accustomed to earthquakes. But today was the first time I was scared to tears by an earthquake.

“I was awakened by the earthquake. I had never felt such intense shaking before.”

The fire agency reported that 64 people were trapped in one coalmine and six in another.

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

Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency said the quake was 7.2 magnitude and that it struck about 11 miles off of Hualien, on Taiwan’s east coast.

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