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Monday 24 October 2016

Minute's silence as last Taiwan quake bodies removed from rubble

Published 14/02/2016 | 04:11

Rescue teams have removed the final bodies from the earthquake rubble (AP)
Rescue teams have removed the final bodies from the earthquake rubble (AP)

Rescuers have removed the remains of the final victims of the Taiwan earthquake and, with a minute's silence, ended the search with the final death toll standing at 116.

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All but two of the dead came from the 17-storey Weiguan Golden Dragon residential complex, which toppled when the magnitude-6.4 quake struck the city of Tainan on February 6.

Tainan mayor Lai Ching-te bowed deeply and thanked the rescuers for their work, then 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.

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.

The building's developer, Lin Ming-hui, and two architects have been detained on suspicion of negligent homicide following accusations that the 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.

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