A Filipino was among those reported missing after a 6.4 magnitude natural disaster struck Hualien County in Taiwan shortly before midnight Tuesday.
One member of staff has been rescued, but another two are said to be still be trapped in the building.
The 6.4-magnitude quake was recorded at 11:50 p.m., and was centered about 14 miles northeast of Hualien, a city of 110,000 on Taiwan's east coast, the United States Geological Survey reported.
- Rescuers worked Wednesday to free people trapped after a strong quake near Taiwan's east coast caused several buildings to cave in and tilt dangerously.
Under what was once the building's ground floor, rescuers continued to work among gnarled rebar, bricks and other debris, as humming generators powered emergency flood lights. One hotel employee was rescued from the basement and three others remain missing, officials said.
Taiwan has been hit by a second quake in two days.
Deadly Taiwan Earthquake Felt in South China
Tsai said she telephoned Hualien County Commissioner Fu Kun-chi (傅崐萁) at about 2am yesterday to ask whether he had any specific requests of the central government to aid disaster relief efforts, while emphasizing that the central government is prepared to offer the county any assistance required. The shaking was felt across Taiwan, but in Hualien the force was disastrous, collapsing walls and leaving buildings resting at alarming angles.
Taiwan's president, Tsai Ing-wen, was at the scene and said that Taiwan was grateful for the offers of assistance and support from the rest of the world. She had also visited the injured in hospitals and praised the first responders "for their tireless efforts".
"Rescue operations have been continuing night and day".
The official news agency said all but two of the 145 people who could not be reached might be in the Yunmen Cuiti building, a 12-story apartment building, though it said it did not immediately have an estimate of how many were trapped.
Hsu Kuo-Yung said the railway department hasn't given a full status report of the damage yet but he said it seems the railways have not been damaged much.
A maintenance worker who was rescued after being trapped in the hotel's basement said the force of the quake was unusual. "Lots of people ran out into the street after the quake, and they weren't willing to go back into their homes", he said.