April 26, 2010 1:40 p.m. EST (by All Headline News)
Ayinde O. Chase - AHN News Editor
Taipei, Taiwan (AHN) - Taiwanese officials are searching for motorists who may have been buried in a landslide Sunday that covered nearly 1,000 feet of highway.
Taiwan's premier has ordered additional manpower and machinery to aid in rescue efforts after a landslide swept several cars off the No.3 Freeway.
Reports indicated that at least two vehicles with one person each might be buried under the rocks. The exact number of missing persons is uncertain, as authorities continue to talk to eyewitnesses and receive phone calls from persons whose relatives are missing. One of the missing is a 55-year-old female taxi driver whose car vanished from the company’s global positioning system almost precisely at the location of the landslide.
The motorists were on the No. 3 Freeway between Taipei and Keelung in northern Taiwan when the earth gave way. It remains unknown what caused the landslide because there wasn't an obvious cause such as earthquake, rain or human activity in the area.
Rescue efforts have not yet found any people or vehicles under the dirt and rocks removed from the buried freeway. Taiwan Area National Freeway Bureau Director General Tseng Ta-jen said efforts to remove the debris is proceeding faster than scheduled, but to completely clear the road could take weeks.
The national freeway bureau estimates 200,000 cubic meters of dirt and rocks poured onto the road in what is regarded as the worst landslide ever on a freeway in the region. Nearly 1,000 people including military personnel are engaged in the search efforts.