PETALING JAYA: Two Malaysians were injured in a rockfall at Taiwan’s Taroko National Park after a 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the coastal city of Hualien on Thursday (April 18).
Quoting several Taiwanese media, China Press reported that the two tourists were hit by the falling rocks due to the quake.
The female tourist injured her head, hit by falling rocks, and the lower body of a male tourist was trapped under the rubble at the Lushui Trail of the national park.
Taiwan police have confirmed both injured tourists are Malaysians.
The local Fire Department will be deploying stone crusher machine and generator to the mountain areas.
According to the reports, due to the earthquake, the Lushui Trail in the national park has collapsed.
It was reported that the quake struck at about 1pm local time in eastern Hualien, at a depth of about 19km.
A weather bureau official said it is the largest quake to hit the island so far this year.
Earlier, AFP reported that the US Geological Survey said traffic was disrupted and 17 people were injured.
In the capital Taipei, highrises swayed while some panicked schoolchildren fled their classrooms in eastern Yilan county, according to reports.
The quake was felt across the island and a highway connecting Yilan and Hualien was shut down, authorities said.
An official at the Hualien county fire department told AFP that two people were injured by falling rocks.
The National Fire Agency said one, a Malaysian male tourist, had been rushed to hospital in a critical condition after suffering a cardiac arrest, a leg fracture and head injuries.
The agency added that there were also 15 injuries reported around Taipei and that two buildings in the city were temporarily evacuated due to structural damage after the tremor.
Taipei’s metro system was closed for over an hour for safety checks following the quake, while the Taiwan Railway Administration also suspended some of some of its services in the east coast for several hours, officials said.
”The tremor could be felt for 33 seconds, which is considered quite long ... It could be felt all over Taiwan and it’s the first quake above 6.0 magnitude this year,” said Chen Kuo-chang, director of the bureau’s seismological centre.
Social media users posted photos of the glasses at a restaurant being shattered by the quake, and of the exterior tiles of a department store building falling.
”I live on the 21st floor, the building swayed so much that I was almost scared to death,” one user posted.
The Japan Meteorological Agency warned that people living near the coast could notice some effects on sea levels, but said there would be no tsunami, and “there is no concern about damage”.
Hualien, a scenic tourist hotspot, was struck by a 6.4-magnitude earthquake last year that killed 17 people and injured nearly 300 people.
Taiwan lies near the junction of two tectonic plates and is regularly hit by quakes.
The island’s worst tremor in recent decades was a 7.6-magnitude quake in September 1999 that killed around 2,400 people.