BEIJING – A magnitude-6.4 earthquake struck late Tuesday near the coast of Taiwan, and people may be trapped inside a building. The U.S. Geological Survey says the quake struck about 21 kilometers, about 13 miles, northeast of Hualien, on the island’s east coast.

Taiwan’s official Central News Agency reports 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 posted photos showing a road fractured in several parts.

arthquake strikes off Taiwan

Taiwanese media reported that aside from the cave in on the ground floor of the Marshal Hotel, a separate hotel known as the Beautiful Life Hotel, is tilting.




“We know there are people who are trapped inside — we can see lights inside the hotel,” witness Zeena Starbuck told BBC News. “People with phones are shining their lights to let people know they’re there.”

Tuesday night’s quake follows one over the weekend off the coast of Hualien on the east of Taiwan, which lies along the famed “Pacific Rim of Fire” known for seismic activity from Alaska to Southeast Asia.

The agency quoted a spokesman of Taiwan’s Executive Yuan, the governing cabinet’s office, as saying that search teams from other areas were headed to Hualien.

The preliminary information suggests the quake was about 9.5 kilometers, about 6 miles, deep.

“(President Tsai Ing-wen) has asked the cabinet and related ministries to immediately launch the ‘disaster mechanism’ and to work at the fastest rate on disaster relief work,” the president’s office said in a statement, Reuters news agency reports.

copy from BBC news.