Death toll of Taiwan quake surges to 98 after more than 30 bodies found on Friday

Grieving relatives attend a memorial service for quake victims in Tainan, Taiwan on Feb 12, 2016.
Grieving relatives attend a memorial service for quake victims in Tainan, Taiwan on Feb 12, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

TAIPEI - The confirmed death toll of last Saturday's magnitude 6.4 earthquake in Taiwan surged to 98 on Friday (Feb 12) after more than 30 bodies were found in the rubble of a collapsed building in the southern city of Tainan.

Of the 98 confirmed deaths, 96 were killed in the collapsed Weiguan Jinlong apartment complex in Tainan's Yongkang district, the semi-official Central News Agency reported late on Friday, citing the National Fire Agency.

As of 8:30pm Friday, 22 people were believed to still be trapped in the ruins of the 16-storey residential building.

More than 10 buildings in Tainan were felled and another 550 people were injured during the quake.

Prosecutors questioning the developer of the Weiguan complex and two others connected with the building have said there were "flaws" in the residential complex, including a lack of steel reinforcement girders and the use of tin cans and foam as fillers in the concrete, Agence France-Presse reported.

Some NT$30 million (S$1.27 million) in assets belonging to the developer and three associates of a building will be seized, a court ruled on Friday according to AFP.