TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) — Rescuers in the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan pulled 221 people from a residential high-rise complex that collapsed when a shallow 6.4-magnitude earthquake struck before dawn today.
At least five people were confirmed dead. The number of injured ranged from 150 to 318, depending on the source.
Firefighters and soldiers scrambled with ladders, cranes and other equipment to buildings, which were folded like accordions in piles of rubble and twisted metal.
The emergency response center said that the dead included a 10-day-old infant, a 55-year-old woman and a 50-year-old man.
Taiwan's official news agency said the infant and the man were pulled out of the 17-story Wei Guan residential building.
The agency said 256 people were believed to have been living in 92 households.
Rescuers also pulled out other survivors from a second Wei Guan high-rise, which had 16 floors and housed 150 families.
The road where the building is situated had gas leaks and water pipe ruptures.
Several other buildings also collapsed or were partially damaged.
Dozens of people were rescued from a market and another seven-floor building, the Central News Agency reported.
A bank building careened, but no injuries were reported, it said.
As dawn broke, live Taiwanese TV showed survivors being brought gingerly from the high-rise buildings, including an elderly woman in a neck brace and others wrapped in blankets.
The trappings of daily life — a partially crushed air conditioner, pieces of a metal balcony, windows — lay twisted in rubble.
People with their arms around firefighters were being helped from the building, and cranes were being used to search darkened parts of the structure for survivors.
Newscasters said other areas of the city were still being canvassed for possible damage.
The temblor struck about 4 a.m. local time.
It was felt as a lengthy, rolling shake in the capital, Taipei, on the other side of the island.
But Taipei was quiet, with no sense of emergency or obvious damage just before dawn.