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Maritimers recount scary moments from Taiwan earthquake


It's a natural disaster on the other side of the world, but aftershocks are being felt in the Maritimes.

The 7.4-magnitude earthquake that hit Taiwan on Wednesday morning was the country’s strongest in 25 years.

Nine people are confirmed dead, with dozens more missing and more than 1,000 injured.

"It was just… it was chaos," said Wayne McNeil, who was born and raised in Glace Bay, N.S., and has lived in Taiwan for 20 years

McNeil was travelling on a highway to meet his students who were coming back from a graduation party when the earthquake hit.

His son was on a bus on the way to school.

"My whole heart, all my feelings, were just 'Where's my son? How is he doing? Did the bus make it?' Because he's got to go over a bridge as well," McNeil told CTV News Atlantic.

"Tens of millions of people would have felt the shaking," said Michal Kolaj, a seismologist with Natural Resources Canada.

Kolaj said while it's rare, significant seismic activity in the Maritimes is not unheard of.

"For example in 1982, there was a pair of earthquakes in Miramichi, New Brunswick, the largest being a magnitude 5.7, which was quite widely felt," Kolaj said.

Another Cape Breton couple, Chris and Hollie Ivany — who live in Hong Kong — were also in Taiwan when the earthquake hit.

They confirmed to CTV News Atlantic they are safe, though the building they were in shook violently for about two minutes.

McNeil said by the evening — or morning, back home in Cape Breton — he was able to talk to his mother and let her know he was okay.

"The message for friends and things back home is just, 'We're fine, we're safe.' It was scary when it lasted, but other than that it's just part of living here. It's a country that's on a fault line," McNeil said.

Search efforts continue to try and find survivors who may be trapped in the rubble. Top Stories


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