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The Latest: Rescuers work to free people trapped after quake

TAIPEI, Taiwan (AP) - The Latest on a deadly magnitude-6.4 earthquake that struck Tuesday near the coast of Taiwan, causing the collapse of several buildings (all times local):

9:30 a.m.

Rescuers are working to free at least five people trapped in damaged buildings and to reach another 170 unaccounted for after an earthquake near Taiwan's eastern coast.

The National Fire Agency says five people are confirmed trapped as of Wednesday morning. While most of the unaccounted for were likely to be in one residential building, the agency did not have an estimate of how many were in the building at the time.

The quake late Tuesday caused buildings to cave in and tilt dangerously and killed at least two people.

The agency says 219 people were injured, two dozen of them critically, in Hualien county. The force of the tremor late Tuesday buckled roads and disrupted electricity and water supplies to thousands of households.


5:30 a.m.

Authorities have closed bridges and some highways pending inspections after a deadly, magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck off the coast of Taiwan.

With aftershocks continuing, shell-shocked residents were being directed Tuesday to shelters, including a newly built baseball stadium where beds and hot food were being provided.

Speaking from a crisis center in Taipei, Cabinet spokesman Hsu Kuo-yung said rail links appeared to be unaffected and the runway of Hualien airport was intact.

He said the priority was to let people return home to check on loved ones.

Taiwan's fire and rescue service said one employee died after parts of the Marshal Hotel collapsed in Hualien county and another perished in a nearby residence.


4 a.m.

Officials say a magnitude-6.4 earthquake that struck near the coast of Taiwan has killed two hotel employees and injured more than 200 other people.

The Central News Agency reported that the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel, a building in Hualien district, had caved in and people were believed to be trapped inside.

The agency also posted photos showing a road fractured in several parts.

The U.S. Geological Survey said the quake struck late Tuesday about 21 kilometers (13 miles) northeast of Hualien, on the island's east coast. It occurred at a depth of about 9.5 kilometers (6 miles).

Taiwanese media reported that a separate hotel known as the Beautiful Life Hotel is tilting.

The earthquake followed one over the weekend off the coast of Hualien, which lies along the famed "Pacific Rim of Fire" known for seismic activity from Alaska to Southeast Asia.

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