Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Earthquake Horror

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

Earthquake Horror

Article excerpt

"EVERYONE was surprisingly calm," former Woolooga woman Wendy Dray said of her February 27 experience in Santiago, Chile when the earthquake struck.

Wendy remembers waking just after 3.30am and being aware that there was an earthquake even though she has never been in one before.

"I was also thinking clearly enough to grab shoes, a jumper, water bottle and my phone as my first thought was to get outside," she said.

"As I stumbled down the hall to find everyone else, it was impossible to walk properly as the building was moving so much.

"I got thrown from one wall of the hallway to the other as the building rocked violently.

"We gathered in the bathroom and discussed if we should get out but, given how long it would take to walk the 21 floors, we stayed put."

Wendy said the noise was aunbelievablea from the quake itself and the buildings moving and things breaking and falling around her.

Knowing that the buildings were built to withstand earthquakes did not stop her thinking about the roof caving in and athat would be thata.

"Every time it seemed the quake had finished, it kept going and getting worse; it lasted about 90 seconds but the building kept moving for another two or three minutes.

"It really gets a lot of momentum at that height so takes a while to stop."

Once the chaos stopped, the people in the high rise gathered outside, listening to the radio.

"Almost immediately reports of the magnitude across a huge part of Chile were rolling in; it was amazing the reporting happened so quickly.

"There was a Peruvian family in the building who had lived in Brisbane and spoke good English.

"It was their fifth earthquake so I figured they'd be the experts. They said you should open your front door so it doesn't get jammed shut during the movement. Nice to find that out after the event."

Wendy said in the cold aftermath of the quake, there was a general sense of shock and that astrangers were talking, as they do in a bad situationa.

After about an hour the Peruvian aexpertsa decided to go back inside and Wendy followed suit, walking up the 21 floors.

"It seemed easy but I think the adrenaline might have had something to do with that. …

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