Taiwan rescuers free nine from cave after quake

Nine people were freed from a winding cave in Taiwan's mountainous east, while two others were located but feared dead, as rescuers pressed on with their search Friday for those still missing after the island's biggest earthquake in 25 years.

The official death toll from Wednesday's magnitude-7.4 quake still stood at 10, but the government in Hualien county, the hardest-hit area, said two more people on a hiking trail were found with "no signs of life", though their deaths could not be immediately verified.

"Currently, the two people seen at the scene cannot be identified because they are buried too deep and have not been completely dug out," the national disaster agency said.

As of Friday, hundreds of people were still stranded around the mountains that flank the county, with roads blocked off by landslides and rockfalls. However, most were known to be safe as rescuers deployed helicopters, drones and smaller teams with dogs to reach them.

The county government said rescuers had found nine people alive in a cave popular with tourists called the Tunnel of Nine Turns.

In the main city of Hualien, workers had started demolishing a building named Uranus — which was tilting at a 45-degree angle after half of its first floor pancaked — slowly using a pink crane to smash its glass windows.

The building had aged a great deal since it was built in 1986, said Hualien County chief Hsu Chen-wei.

"We hope to complete the demolition within two weeks so Hualien people can return to their regular lives. We hope that everyone will not be in such a panicky situation," Hsu said.

Before the demolition began, workers and officials held a small ceremony, burning joss sticks and offering flowers, drinks and fruits to pray for a...

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