August 8, 2020

The Editor speaks: Where were you when the Earthquake struck?

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Colin Wilson

I am sure all of us will remember, until the day we die, where we were on the Cayman Islands when the 7.7 mag. earthquake struck.

We even had an aftershock that was just over 6 mag.

What is incredible is there were no lives loss, no injuries and no severe damage to properties.

Apart from quite a number of large sink holes, mainly in the roads, and broken sewage and water pipes, we escaped by the Grace of God, and I use those words carefully.

I well remember the very first earthquake I experience and that was also on Grand Cayman soon after Hurricane Ivan approaching Christmas. It was strong and I felt it, but it lasted seconds.I felt no fear then Maybe it was because it was nothing compared to what we had just gone through for thirty plus hours with the roaring hurricane winds approaching 150 mph. Most of us were still in some form of shell shock.

Last Tuesday’s earthquake lasted over two minutes and I did register fear.I was very frightened.

I was at home in george Town. With me was my wife, our helper and a visiting friend.

I was sitting on one of the sofas, my wife in her recliner chair, the friend in perched comfortably in the other sofa and our helper was busy cleaning.

It was around 2pm and I was relaxing when I first heard a deep rumble – a loud one and it seemed close. I thought at first it was a plane taking off at the Airport that is near to where I live. But it seemed too close and I wondered if it was a helicopter but the sound was different. More like a freight train but there are none of those here in the Caymans. The last time I heard a sound like that was in England.

Next, I noticed the sofa moving and then the whole house started to shake. Some photos started to fall over and one crashed down onto the floor.

I immediately got up and it was then my legs seemed to be made of jelly. The floor was moving in time with the rest of the house.

It was then I realised what it was.

β€œIt’s an earthquake!” I shouted. I could feel myself losing balance and had to move swiftly to a jutting piece of concrete wall that separates the kitchen area from the lounge. I placed both my arms around it.

Then it stopped. We all rushed for the front door and the quake started up all over again.

Our helper, who is also a volunteer for the Red Cross, said we should get into the road but the wires were swaying to and fro from the telephone and power poles so we stayed where we were. The three ladies were standing in the doorway holding onto the door and I was grabbing onto a concrete pillar that supported the porch roof.

Then the shaking stopped again, but it started almost immediately.

I was now more than scared but tried not to show it.

No one screamed but I could see fear on all faces.

Thankfully, the shaking stopped. All was calm.

I understand the ‘quake lasted two minutes. It seemed longer than that.

I will always remember it.

Where were you when the Earthquake struck?

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