Travelers returning from Taiwan recount feeling 7.4 magnitude earthquake

SAN FRANCISCO - Taiwan is still reeling from the strongest earthquake in 25 years.

Tuesday's 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Hualien, which was last struck by a deadly quake in 2018 that killed 17 people.

Nine people were killed, and over 900 injured in the latest earthquake.

Taiwan is twice the size of the nine Bay Area counties and is home to 23 million people in 101 cities and towns. Fortunately, the brunt of the force was experienced on its mountainous, sparsely populated east coast, 90 miles away, but was felt across the island country.

At San Francisco International Airport, travelers returning from the battered island described the moments the earthquake hit.

"It lasted pretty long. It was longer than I expected," said Bay Area Native Brian Yang, who was at the airport in Taiwan when it struck.

"You could see some of the ticket agents get underneath the counter already," said Yang.

"The clerk was just about to issue my boarding pass, and the place just started to shake, and shake. It took about 15 seconds, but seemed a lot longer and I looked up. It's a vast building with very large chandeliers and they were swinging. I looked around, and most people were running out,: said Robert Schelly of Emeryville.

One family was on the 13th floor of a hotel.

"We were just in our room, getting ready to leave and the whole building started swaying back and forth, said Catherine Tsina of Los Angeles.

The Chens were able to drive.

"Highways are still working but the railway and rapid transit are closed temporarily," said Yong Sheng Chen.

Residents in the hardest-hit areas of Taiwan have to find new places to live.

"We are all residents who live in this neighborhood, the wall of our apartment is cracked, we live on the upper floors, so we don't dare to go home," said one survivor.

Any large disruption to Taiwan's microchip manufacturing will slow the production of vehicles, cell phones, communications devices, and the burgeoning artificial intelligence industry worldwide.