'Everyone run out!' Singaporean family of 6 flees eatery in Taiwan seconds before building crumbles

'Everyone run out!' Singaporean family of 6 flees eatery in Taiwan seconds before building crumbles
Singaporean Chen Suping (right) and her five family members were among 17 people who escaped from an eatery in Hualien during the quake that hit Taiwan on April 3.
PHOTO: Screengrab/YouTube/Taiwan EBC News

One moment they were enjoying their breakfast, the next they were running for their lives.

Thanks to a Singaporean tourist who sounded the alarm, 17 diners and employees at an eatery in Hualian, Taiwan, managed to escape disaster mere seconds before the building partially collapsed during the 7.4-magnitude earthquake that rocked the island on Wednesday (April 3) morning.

Among them are a Singaporean family of six who are on a two-week holiday in Taiwan.

Chen Suping (transliteration), a 56-year-old civil servant, told Shin Min Daily News on April 5 that she, her younger brother and his wife, as well as her cousin and her two children, had arrived in Taiwan on March 23.

They were at the eatery in Hualien, which sits on the ground floor of a five-storey apartment building, for breakfast at around 7.50am on Wednesday.

As they were tucking into scallion pancakes and soy milk about 10 minutes later, they felt the ground shaking.

"I didn't know what was happening and saw that no one else was moving, so I thought it might not be serious," Chen recounted.

"But then my cousin shouted that it's an earthquake and told everyone to run out."

About five seconds after they dashed out, Chen heard a loud noise. The eatery had caved in.

Video footage captured by a dashcam of a car parked nearby shows an employee holding what appears to be two plates of food stepping out of the eatery. 

He is closely followed by 16 other people, who ran across the street.


Moments after the last person makes it out, the building tilts and crumbles.

On their narrow escape, Chen said: "I'm still scared when I think back to the incident. If it wasn't for my cousin, we would probably be trapped under the rubble."

Two Singaporeans, however, have been reported missing in Taiwan after the earthquake, reported The Straits Times.


Singapore's Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) told the newspaper on Friday that the Singapore Trade Office in Taipei is in close contact with the local authorities on the matter, and its officials have been in touch with the next of kin and are giving consular assistance.

On Wednesday, the ministry said there had been no reports of Singaporeans injured in the quake. 

The following day, Taiwan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said eight Singaporeans were among those rescued by the Taiwanese authorities after being trapped in Hualien. 

According to Singapore's MFA, two of the eight had light injuries and have received assistance from the local authorities, reported ST.

The quake on Wednesday — the strongest that Taiwan has experienced in 25 years — has killed 12 people and injured more than a thousand.

ALSO READ: 'I felt the building shaking, heard things falling': Singapore family holidaying in Taiwan hides under hotel room table four times during quake


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