5.7-magnitude quake hits off western Taiwan, tremors felt in Hong Kong

The quake hit around 100km off the island of Pinghu in the Taiwan Strait, at a depth of 13km, on Nov 26.
PHOTO: USGS

TAIPEI - A 5.7-magnitude earthquake struck off the western coast of Taiwan on Monday (Nov 26), the US Geological Survey said, and was felt hundreds of kilometres away in Hong Kong.

The quake hit around 100km off the island of Penghu in the Taiwan Strait on Monday morning, at a depth of 13km.

There were no immediate reports of casualties or damage from the quake, which the USGS had initially reported at magnitude 5.6.

Residents in the city of Magong on Penghu island ran outside, screaming "earthquake", after the tremor hit, Taiwan media reported.

Hong Kong residents reported feeling the quake, and some took to social media to discuss the rare event.

"I did (feel it)! I thought I was dizzy, I saw the clothes that were hung up swaying around," wrote one Facebook user in a discussion group for Hong Kong's Tai Po district.

The Hong Kong Observatory said it had received nearly 1,000 reports of the quake being felt, with a duration of a few seconds.

"Initial estimate gave a local intensity of IV (four) on the Modified Mercalli Intensity Scale, that is hanging objects swing. Windows, dishes, doors rattle," it said in a statement.

Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.

In February, its eastern Hualien city was hit by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake which killed 17 people.

The island's worst such disaster in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.

6.4-magnitude quake strikes Hualien, Taiwan

  • A 6.4-magnitude quake on the east coast of Taiwan has left two dead and more than 200 injured after buildings crumbled and trapped people inside.
  • A hotel and a residential block were the worst hit by the quake in the port city of Hualien.
  • Five more buildings including a hospital had also been damaged.
  • Televison footage showed roads strewn with rubble, cracks along highways and damaged buildings tilted at angles.
  • “It’s the biggest quake I’ve experienced in Hualien in more than 10 years,” resident Blue Hsu told AFP, who said his home shook violently.
  • Hualien is one of Taiwan’s most popular tourist hubs as it lies on the picturesque east coast rail line and is near to popular Taroko Gorge.
  • Photos on Apple Daily showed a man calling for help from the window of an apartment block and a ceiling collapse at a local hospital.
  • Officials from Hualien fire department said 149 people had been rescued from damaged buildings.
  • Amy Chen, a 64-year-old flower arrangement teacher who was at home with her husband when the quake hit, told the semi-official Central News Agency: "I have never experienced an earthquake as large as this one. I am terrified."
  • The worst-hit Marshal Hotel partly crumpled into the ground.
  • Describing the scene at the Marshal Hotel, Hsu said the bottom storeys had been crushed.
  • “The lower floors sunk into the ground and I saw panicked tourists being rescued from the hotel. There is one bulldozer and about 50 rescuers on the scene,” he said.
  • Authorities said some people remained trapped but were unable to give an overall figure.
  • Rescuers from around the island were preparing to help, Taiwan’s president Tsai Ing-wen said on her Facebook page, promising rapid disaster relief.
  • There had been at least 15 aftershocks following the quake, Taiwan’s weather bureau said.
  • The quake hit at 11.50pm around 21km north-east of Hualien, according to the United States Geological Survey.
  • It follows almost 100 smaller tremors to have hit the area in the last three days.
  • The quake comes exactly two years since a quake of the same magnitude struck the southern Taiwanese city of Tainan, killing more than 100 people.
  • Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by earthquakes.
  • The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6 magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.