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Horrified commuters thrown around train, child rescued from collapsed building as 7.4-magnitude earthquake kills 7, injures 700 in Taiwan

At least seven people were killed and more than 700 people injured when a powerful 7.4-magnitude earthquake struck Taiwan early Wednesday.

The quake, which rocked the island just before 8 a.m. local time, downed buildings in Taiwan’s eastern city of Hualien and caused a small tsunami on the coast of Japan’s Yonaguni island, officials said.

The deaths were reported in Hualien, which was the epicenter of the earthquake — the strongest one to hit Taiwan in 25 years, according to the country’s fire department.

Taiwan was hit with a 7.2-magnitude earthquake on Tuesday. USGS
A partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. AP

At least three of the dead were believed to have been crushed to death by rocks falling from the mountainside. 

More than 50 were injured, according to the country’s fire department. 

Local media showed buildings in Hualien knocked off their foundations after the quake struck as people were heading to work and school.

Commuters on a train are frightened as the earthquake rocks them. @SCMcrocodile/X
A partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. AP

At least 26 buildings collapsed with 20 people trapped inside as rescue efforts are underway, the fire department said. 

Shocking footage of the aftermath posted on social media shows massive buildings dramatically leaning at an extreme angle as clouds of dust hang in the air. 

Another clip shows straphangers aboard the Taipei Metro gripping onto poles and their seats as the quake rocks the train car from side to side. 

A man checks a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. AP
A photo taken by Taiwan’s Central News Agency on April 3, 2024, shows a damaged building in Hualien. CNA/AFP via Getty Images

The earthquake caused several parts of the capital city, Taipei, to lose power, while train service was temporarily suspended across the country. However, things appeared to return to normal with people commuting to work and children heading to school shortly after the quake.

Japan issued an evacuation advisory for coastal areas near Okinawa after the earthquake triggered a tsunami warning.

The Japan Meteorological Agency forecast a tsunami of up to 9.8 feet for the southern island group of Okinawa. Japan’s Self-Defense Force deployed aircraft to gather more information about the tsunami’s impact in the region and started preparing shelters for evacuees if needed.

Residents rescue a child from a partially collapsed building in Hualien, eastern Taiwan, on Wednesday, April 3, 2024. AP
A car and bridge damaged in Hualien following the earthquake that hit Taiwan’s east section on April 3, 2024. HUALIEN FIRE DEPARTMENT/AFP via Getty Images

A wave about 1 foot high was reported on the coast of Yonaguni island roughly 15 minutes after the quake struck. JAMA said waves likely also hit the coasts of Miyako and Yaeyama islands, though the 1-foot wave was believed to be the tallest. 

The tsunami warning was downgraded in Japan and canceled in the Philippines a couple of hours later after both countries determined the threat had passed. 

Several aftershocks shook Taiwan after the initial quake, including one that measured 6.5 magnitude.

A rescue team searches for survivors in a damaged building in Hualien after the major earthquake hit Taiwan’s east. HUALIEN FIRE DEPARTMENT/AFP via Getty Images
Commuters on a Taipei Mass Rapid Transit platform as a train stops during a 7.4-magnitude earthquake in Taipei. CNA/AFP via Getty Images

The US National Tsunami Warning Center said it was “analyzing the event to determine the level of danger” for Alaska, Washington, Oregon, California and British Columbia. It later determined that there was no threat. 

The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center said there was no tsunami threat to Hawaii or the US Pacific territory of Guam as well.

Taiwan’s earthquake monitoring agency gave the magnitude as 7.2 while the US Geological Survey put it at 7.4.

Cars on the road as a 7.2-magnitude earthquake hits Taiwan, with tsunami warnings issued in US and Japan. X / @S_Wazir1

The depth of the quake was measured at 21 miles below the surface. The quake was believed to be the biggest in Taiwan since 1999, when a major 7.7-magnitude tremor caused extensive damage on the island and killed 2,400 people.

In 2019, a magnitude-6.2 quake hit near Hualien and killed at least 17 people and injured more than 300 others.

With Post wires