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6 dead, 76 missing after strong quake hits Taiwan

MiamiHerald / Rescuers worked Wednesday to free people trapped after a strong earthquake near Taiwan’s east coast caused several buildings to cave in and tilt dangerously. At least six people were killed and 76 could not be contacted following the quake.

Videos and photos showed several midsized buildings in worst-hit Hualien county leaning at sharp angles, their lowest floors crushed into mangled heaps of concrete, glass, iron and other debris. Firefighters climbed ladders hoisted against windows to reach residents inside apartments.

The shallow, magnitude 6.4 quake late Tuesday night caused at least four buildings to cave in and shift on their foundations. That was likely caused by soil liquefaction, when the ground beneath a building loses its solidity under stress such as that caused by an earthquake.

A maintenance worker who was rescued after being trapped in the basement of the Marshal Hotel said the force of the earthquake was unusual even for a region used to temblors.

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