'We woke up screaming in our sleep'

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 16 Dec, 2008 Updated Tue 16 Dec 2008 14:05 CEST
'We woke up screaming in our sleep'

Fear, panic, and surprise gripped residents across southern Sweden on Tuesday morning as a rare 4.7 magnitude earthquake rumbled across the region, causing Malmö's signature high rise to sway.


Several of The Local’s readers shared their accounts of what was for many a harrowing start to the day.

“We woke up screaming in our sleep," Catherine Paul, a native of Canada who resides in Björnstorp south of Lund, told The Local.

“It was very scary.”

According to the Sydsvenskan newspaper, the quake caused Malmö's Turning Torso skyscraper to shake.

Stig Olsson was in the middle of drinking his morning coffee on the building’s 42nd floor when the tremor hit.

“Things were really swaying. The coffee was bouncing in its cup,” he told Sydsvenskan.

“At first I thought it I had gotten up too fast and become dizzy. My second thought was that something had happened to the building. But then I figured it was probably an earthquake.”

Eyewitnesses also described how china and glasses crashed to the floor, mirrors were thrown to the ground, and cracks appeared in the walls of their homes.

"I just lay there and screamed," said Tina Morris from the town of Skurup, about 40 kilometres south east of Malmö, and just a few kilometres from where experts believe the earthquake had its epicentre.

"I never want to go through that again."

Malmö resident Sanna Holmqvist was shaken out of her sleep at 6.20am to the sound of the earthquake’s rumbling.

"My whole bed was shaking and I heard the china and glasses in my kitchen cupboards scrambling,” she said.

"I did think that perhaps a truck had crashed against the house or that something had exploded in the basement, but that in that case it ought to have stopped shaking, and it just didn't. It went on for about 20 or 30 seconds.”

Others were already awake when the quake struck.

"I felt my chair shaking strongly - like an electric shock or something like that - and I heard what sounded like the strong roar of welding machines," said Tareq Abdullah from Malmö.

"I heard cracks from the walls and some wooden furniture and then jumped to the windows and the balcony to see whether fire had erupted.”

Uzair Akbar Raja, a native of Pakistan who was waiting for a train at Lund’s central station when the earthquake struck, described how it brought back memories of the devastating 7.5 magnitude quake which hit his home country back in 2005.

“I felt the ground shaking. I thought it might be some train passing through, but there was no train. Then I realized it was an earthquake,” he said.

“I think it was a very strong earthquake.”

Lund University student Danielle Williams thought she was dreaming when the quake struck.

“I suddenly awoke to having my bed whipped back and forth violently across the room,” she said.

"We thought that perhaps it was a train from central station that went off the track and somehow crashed into the building.”

Williams was part of a group from the US, the Netherlands and Germany, none of whom had ever experience an earthquake.

“We were all scared and concerned about the building's structure being able to handle such tremors,” she added.

“Fortunately, there were no injuries."

Brazilian born Robinson Galvao also found the earthquake a bizarre experience.

"I have never felt this strange and scary sensation! It was like a bomb explosion and the house started to shake."


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