TAIPEI – Rescuers in Taiwan recovered the remains of the final victims of last week’s earthquake and with a minute of silence ended the search with the death toll of 116, most of them in a collapsed high-rise apartment building.
All but two of the dead came from the 17-story Weiguan Golden Dragon residential complex, which toppled when the magnitude-6.4 quake struck the city on Feb. 6.
Tainan city Mayor Mayor Lai Ching-te on Saturday bowed deeply and thanked the rescuers for their work, and ordered a minute of silence for the victims.
A total of 270 people in the building survived, including 95 who were evacuated and 175 who were pulled out from the rubble, according to the latest figures from Tainan’s city authorities.
Authorities believe one last person unaccounted for was homeless and not in the residential compound at the time of the quake. Police have reclassified the person’s status as missing, Taiwan’s Interior Ministry said.
The building’s developer, Lin Ming-hui, and two architects have been detained on suspicion of negligent homicide following accusations that Lin’s company cut corners in the construction.
Earthquakes frequently strike Taiwan, but usually cause little or no damage, particularly since more stringent building regulations were introduced following a magnitude-7.6 quake in 1999 that killed more than 2,300 people.