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Survivor of the 921 earthquake to pay a visit to Korea rescue team

Survivor of the 921 earthquake to pay a visit to Korea rescue team

Taipei, April 2 (CNA) A college junior, who was buried under rubble for 86 hours after the 921 earthquake when he was 6, said Thursday he would like to visit South Korea to thank his rescuers and share his story with Korean children. The disastrous earthquake, measuring 7.3 on the Richter open-end scale, rocked Taiwan at 1:47 a.m. on Sept. 21, 1999, with the epicenter at a depth of about 8 kilometers in Jiji Township in the central county of Nantou. It was the strongest quake to hit the island in the past 100 years. Chang Ching-hung's (???) home, was originally on the 2nd floor of the residential "Dynasty" building in what is now Dali District, Taichung City, but he was discovered trapped in his room, which had crashed into the building's basement at around 11 a.m. on Sept. 24, some 81 hours after the temblor. Chang's rescuers, from South Korea, Japan, Switzerland and Singapore, moved inch by inch, fearing the building could further collapse at any moment, because he was buried deep in the rubble, three walls away from them. The harrowing experience of toiling many hours to finally extricate Chang from the ruins of his home, gave the 16 members of South Korea's National 119 Rescue Headquarters a lasting memory of the brave boy that has persisted for 15 years since the disaster. Chou Chin-hua (???), founder of the Chou Ta-Kuan Foundation who visited the Korean rescue team in 2001, said on Thursday in Taichung that the team still remembered Chang and would like to get contact with him. Chou said he had contacted with Chang, who said he intended to visit South Korea in mid-June. Chang told CNA on the telephone that he works as a delivery man at a logistics store and attends college in the evenings in Taichung. The 21-year-old man said he sometimes passes by the location where his home once stood, but he is not as saddened as before since so many years have passed. Chang's parents and two younger sisters were killed in the disaster, and he was raised by his grandfather afterwards. Chang said he would like to share his own story with others and inspire Korean children. Chang is still very grateful to the members of the Korean rescue team. Chou and Chang are scheduled to visit South Korea for five days starting June 17. Chang also said that the experience of the devastating disaster and subsequent sorrow made him better understand the value and meaning of life, and he can now face his life with a more positive and optimistic attitude. Some 2,455 people were killed and 11,305 others injured in the devastating quake, according to the Relieve Disaster Foundation website. (By Liao Jen-kai, Hao Hsueh-ching and Kuo Chung-han)

Updated : 2021-09-29 05:06 GMT+08:00