Taiwan quake death toll rises to 17

Taiwan quake death toll rises to 17
By Michael Daventry
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Latest confirmed victims include members of a family trapped in a building left leaning on its side


Rescue operations are coming to close in Hualien, Taiwan, where 17 people are confirmed to have died after Tuesday's earthquake.

Thousands of emergency workers have sifted through the rubble at the base of a 12-storey apartment block that was left leaning at a 50 degree angle by the 6.5-magnitude quake.

It was the most severe earthquake to hit the tourism hotspot in five decades.

Three more mainland tourists were confirmed dead Saturday afternoon.

Their bodies, identified as a male, a female and a child, were found in the ruins of a 12-story building in the city, according to Taiwan's firefighting authority.

Hualien's mayor Fu Kun-chi said rescuers were struggling to reach two victims pinned under heavy pillars that could not be removed without risking a complete collapse of the building.

He said the rescue operation had been called off with relatives' consent.

The victims include seven from Chinese mainland, five from Taiwan, one from the Philippines and two from Canada.

More than 270 people were injured in the tremor, which struck out at sea from Hualien late on Tuesday night.

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