Belfast Telegraph

Antrim family's terror after being caught up in Swansea earthquake

Swansea University Bay Campus is evacuated after the earthquake. PA
Swansea University Bay Campus is evacuated after the earthquake. PA
Co Antrim woman Michelle Corker
Patricia Brookes, originally from Strabane

By Leona O'Neill

A Co Antrim woman who was caught up in the Swansea earthquake has said she thought a truck had crashed into the DIY store she was shopping in, the tremor was so strong.

The earthquake - centred at Cwmllynfell and thought to be the strongest to hit the UK in 10 years - struck on Saturday afternoon.

Thousands of people reported tremors across Wales, south west England, the Midlands and Liverpool. Its epicentre was eight miles outside Swansea city centre, sparking panic among residents and a mass evacuation at Swansea University.

Michelle Corker (48), who lives in Swansea, was in the city's B&Q store with her 12-year-old son Brodie when the 4.4 magnitude quake shook the region.

Her mum Patricia Brookes, who is originally from Strabane, lives nearby and was left fearful.

"I was shopping with my family and all of a sudden I heard a really loud noise," Michelle said.

"It was very strange, it sounded like it was loads of metal trolleys being dragged across the corrugated roof of the building.

"It felt like a truck had crashed into the building.

"People were looking around at each other, but there was nothing shaking, so people didn't think too much of it or panic.

"Then I looked at social media and people all over were asking if anyone felt the ground shake, they were saying their books fell off their shelves and the like.

"I rang my mum who lives around four miles from me. She was in total shock and thought that a lorry had crashed into her house because her building had shaken, the chair she was in had been shaking, she had been shaking. It was really frightening for her for about five to 10 seconds. She was still very upset three hours after it happened.

"It didn't cause any damage to buildings, it was more about things falling over and people feeling that this was very weird, very strange."

Michelle says that Swansea residents are concerned that, due to fracking in the area, it won't be the last time they experience the phenomenon.

"It did feel weird, the more I spoke to people on social media the more I gathered that everyone felt a bit strange before and just afterwards. Everyone here is saying that they think the earthquake was caused by a fracking operation two miles from the centre of the earthquake.

"And the government has approved lots of new fracking licences recently. There are going to be lots of earthquakes in this location and many other locations around the UK. Once the crust has cracked there is no sealing it back. And that is scary."

Thousands of people reported the tremors to the British Geological Survey (BGS) on Saturday.

A spokesperson for the organisation said an earthquake of this magnitude can be expected in the UK every four years.

"BGS received reports of the earthquake being felt from several thousand people," he said.

"The maximum observed intensity was five EMS, which corresponds to strong shaking.

"An earthquake of this size occurs somewhere on mainland Britain roughly every four years.

"In 2014, a magnitude 4.2 earthquake in the Bristol Channel was widely felt in south Wales."

Belfast Telegraph

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