Dozens are trapped in highway tunnels and rock quarries after the devastating Taiwan earthquake: reports

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Dozens are trapped in highway tunnels and rock quarries after the devastating Taiwan earthquake: reports
A damaged building in Hualien, Taiwan on April 3, 2024.Anadolu/Getty Images
  • A 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan, trapping people in rock quarries and highway tunnels.
  • It's the biggest quake to hit the region in 25 years, and aftershocks could continue through the week.
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Dozens of people are trapped in highway tunnels and a pair of rock quarries after a massive 7.4 magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan on Wednesday, the Associated Press and CNN reported.

The quake struck off the eastern coast of Taiwan, disrupting the morning rush hour and toppling buildings in the biggest quake to hit the country in 25 years.

The Taiwanese fire authority says in addition to the trapped workers, at least nine people have been killed, the AP reported.

Sixty-four people are trapped in one quarry and 6 people in another, according to the AP.

It's unclear how the workers became trapped or how they can be rescued.

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CNN reported that 137 people remained trapped in highway tunnels on Wednesday morning; an additional 75 people who were stranded were rescued, the outlet reported.

Taiwan's national fire agency says that at least nine people have died — all in Hualien County — and over 900 have been injured, according to CNN. The severity of their injuries is not clear.

Authorities told the AP that they've lost contact with 50 people who were traveling in minibusses through Hualien's Taroko National Park. Three hikers died in landslides in the park, and a van driver died after boulders crushed his vehicle, the AP reported.

Taiwan, an island country of about 23 million people, is regularly hit by earthquakes, which sometimes trigger tsunamis, because of its location along the Ring of Fire in the Pacific Ocean. The Ring of Fire, a belt of volcanoes where many tectonic plates converge, is the most active seismic and volcanic region in the world, according to the USGS.

"I've grown accustomed to (earthquakes). But today was the first time I was scared to tears by an earthquake," Hsien-hsuen Keng, who lives in a fifth-floor apartment in Taipei, told the AP. "I was awakened by the earthquake. I had never felt such intense shaking before."

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Tsunami warnings were issued in Taiwan, southern Japan, and the Philippines following Wednesday's quake, but have since been retracted, CNN reported.

Series of aftershocks have already hit the region, and authorities warn they could continue up to a magnitude 7 until the end of the week, a spokesperson for Taiwan's Central Weather Administration told CNN.

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