'I thought the world was ending' - SA quake as it happened

2014-08-05 18:00

"I thought the world was ending," were the words a resident used to describe her experience of the earthquake that hit South Africa.


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Last Updated at 01:44
05 Aug 17:56

"I thought the world was ending," were the words Mamosa Melato used to describe her experience of the earthquake that hit South Africa on Tuesday.

Melato was in her house, and her husband and son-in-law were sitting on the veranda, when the entire area of Orkney started shaking.

"I ran outside and saw the ground cracking. The toilet seat was dislodged from the plumbing system and water was everywhere," she said.

Bricks from the veranda fell where her husband and son-in-law were sitting and Melato said they were lucky to be alive.

Melato's neighbour was also affected by the earthquake. Ruth Molojwa was at work when she got the call telling her of damage to her house.

"When I got off the taxi, I saw my house destroyed. The bricks destroyed everything inside my house," she said.

Emergency personnel cordoned off both houses. While outside, two aftershocks were felt and residents were told not to enter their houses. "The aftershocks really frightened us," Melato said. - Sapa

05 Aug 17:55

What should you do after an earthquake, according to ER24:  

1. Establish if you have sustained any injuries. Check around you and try to see if anyone else sustained any injuries. If you can provide first aid, proceed to do so.  

2. Call emergency services for medical assistance if someone sustained an injury.  

3. If the building you are in sustained structural damage, even if you are unsure, evacuated calmly and quickly. (If possible)  

4. Try and listen to your local radio station for emergency or news updates.  

5. Do not enter any damaged buildings or areas. There might be debris lying around. Be very careful around broken glass and other items that can cause you harm. Do not take off your shoes.  

6. Stay away from beaches until the area has been announced as safe.  

7. If the area you are in has an evacuation or emergency plan, try and follow it.

05 Aug 17:52

5 things to do during earthquakes, according to ER24:

1. Stay calm.

2. Try and stay where you are. Use large and sturdy objects such as a big desk to crawl under. If you are in a building, try and stand with your back against the wall near the centre of the building.

3. Stay away from windows and outside doors.

4. Should you be outside at the time of an earthquake, look around you. Ensure you are clear from power cables or anything overhead that might fall on you. Do not stand near or against a building, debris might fall on top of you.

5. Use the stairs to evacuate premises (only when it is safe to do so)

05 Aug 17:26

05 Aug 17:25

Engineers are inspecting shaft infrastructure at two of AngloGold Ashanti's Vaal River mines, following an earthquake that has left seventeen employees injured.  

"Our priority is the safe passage of our employees from underground. Engineers are inspecting shaft infrastructure, and at those shafts where this work is complete, hoisting of people to surface has already begun," said AngloGold Ashanti spokesperson Chris Nthite in a statement. - Sapa

05 Aug 17:23

05 Aug 17:10

05 Aug 17:06

05 Aug 17:01

05 Aug 17:01
Reports just in that more tremors have been felt. Have you experienced the tremors? Heard of anybody injured? Or damage to property? Upload PHOTOS, upload STORIES,  or E-MAIL.

05 Aug 17:00

05 Aug 16:52

The Free State government evacuated all public servants from Bloemfontein's two tallest buildings during the earthquake on Tuesday.

"The director general of the Free State Kopung Ralikontsane ordered all public servants immediately to evacuate the government buildings, go home and report for duty the next day," said government spokesperson Mondli Mvambi.

The earthquake struck after midday, shaking buildings and rattling pictures and windows.

The Council for Geoscience said the quake measured 5.5 magnitude.

Mvambi said Ralikontsane ordered the province's structural engineers to investigate the safety of all government buildings, including hospitals, throughout the Free State. Tremors were felt in Bloemfontein, Welkom, Thabong and Kroonstad.

Mvambi said the government's evacuation plans in the city's highest buildings were executed without any problems. The buildings are the 23-storey provincial government building, the former CR Swartz building and the Lebohang building of 12 floors. - Sapa

05 Aug 16:48

One person was killed and 17 injured when a 5.5 magnitude earthquake hit South Africa on Tuesday, causing scares in North West mining operations and evacuations in large parts of the country.

"For South Africa, a 5.5 magnitude quake is quite big but it’s not uncommon," said Herman van Niekerk, a structural geologist from the University of Johannesburg.

"It went on for about 20 seconds or so, but some people say they felt it for a lot longer," he told Sapa. The quake, one of South Africa's largest magnitude earthquakes in the past decade, was felt as far Mozambique and Botswana. The Council for Geoscience said its epicentre was in the Orkney region in North West province, where one person was killed.

"It occurred in the Stilfontein, Klerksdorp, and Orkney region [in the North West] and it was quite widely felt... as far as the Eastern Cape," said the Council for Geoscience's Michelle Grobbelaar.

She said more tremors, aftershocks and possibly a second quake of the same magnitude were expected in the coming days, but it was unknown when. "We are monitoring. It will continue for days, if not months," she said. - Sapa

05 Aug 16:46

Structural engineers were inspecting the Rustenburg municipal office building following an earthquake on Tuesday, the municipality said.

"The eight-storey building vibrated during the earthquake. The building was evacuated for safety reasons," said spokesperson Thapelo Matebesi.

He said acting municipal manager Marks Rapoo's advice was not to let workers back into the Missionary Mpheni building until it was assessed by engineers.

"The engineers will submit their report to the municipal manager today. Employees will come to work on Wednesday morning and only allowed in once is safe to do so."

The Council for Geoscience said the earthquake that struck various parts of the country was recorded at a magnitude of 5.5. - Sapa

05 Aug 16:45
News24 users Danny Govender wrote: “We felt it in Lotus Gardens – Pretoria West at approximately 12:20 to 12:25. There were two tremors the first one must have lasted approximately five to eight seconds and the second followed approximately two minutes later and lasted over 10 seconds. My kitchen cabinet was rattling at first I thought it might have been a low flying plane.”

05 Aug 16:42

05 Aug 16:40

05 Aug 16:31
UJ geologist tells EWN he believes the earthquake was triggered when an ancient fault was disturbed and it was pressure being released, tweets reporter Alex Eliseev.

05 Aug 16:19

News24 user Andile Msomi tells us: "I'm based in Durban but we also felt the earth tremor.

At first I felt my chair shaking but I thought 1 of my colleagues was behind me not until my desk started shacking too that when I realised that something was happening. People were phoning in to double check if we felt the same thing."

Did you feel the tremor in your area? Tell us where. Have you heard of anybody injured? Upload PHOTOS, upload STORIES, or E-MAIL.

05 Aug 16:18

05 Aug 16:10

05 Aug 16:03
"There is no electrity in our offices in Northwest based in Orkney as result of earthquake earlier. Staff had to be released," tweets Cosatu's Zwelinzima Vavi.

05 Aug 16:00

"The house is old and was hit by the earthquake and collapsed while he was inside. Rescue teams managed to retrieve him, he suffered minor bruises. That is the only house we know about so far," said the municipality's emergency services spokesperson Tommy Dalziel of the man who was rescued from his house.

Matlosana includes towns such as Klerksdorp and Orkney.

The house was situated between Klerksdorp and Orkney, he said.The municipality was rallying ward councillors around the area to report on any incidents in the community.

"We are contacting all ward councillors and emergency workers to be on standby for any eventualities in residential areas."

05 Aug 15:57
Here are the five quake facts you need to know.

05 Aug 15:42

05 Aug 15:34

And another user thought it might have been a vehicle passing: " I experienced an earth tremor in Mafikeng – North West before 13h00 today.

It was very scary, at first I thought the building was just vibrating because a heavy duty vehicle was passing since well we are next to the road. As it continues, I realized that there were no vehicle passing."

05 Aug 15:31
Another News24 user tells us: "We felt it in Tshwane CBD. My workplace was evacuated in time, but now some don’t want go back."

05 Aug 15:29

News24 user Mogale Mphahlele: "Yes it was felt even here in Bloemfontein today midday. Where I am working in Lebohang building staff members had to run out of the building because it was shaking a bit.

We were all released as a precautionary measure."

05 Aug 15:17

"This earthquake is severely dangerous because the epicentre is located right below Orkney and Klerksdorp," the US Geological Survey said.

Another report on the website said a school building in Klerksdorp shook so badly that pupils were thrown off balance.

"Our school has three storeys and I was in the middle when it shook. We dove for the door along with our geography teacher and we were told to evacuate the building," said a pupil on the website.

"We are on the football field, damage [was] done to multiple classrooms."

05 Aug 15:00

Just a reminder...

Did you feel the tremor in your area? Tell us where. Have you heard of anybody injured? Upload PHOTOS, upload STORIES, or E-MAIL.

05 Aug 14:59
The Council of Geoscience puts the earthquake at 5.5 (versus US reports of 5.3). Aftershocks expected, tweets Eyewitness News.

05 Aug 14:40
ER24 and Rescue SA are standing down on dispatching extra rescue teams. Inspectors have confirmed no miners trapped, tweets ER24.

05 Aug 14:39
It's difficult to be prepared for an earthquake in South Africa as it's not something we're used to, says ER24's Werner Vermaak.

05 Aug 14:38
News24 user Nigel Pontac in Melkbosstrand in the Western Cape also says he felt a slight tremor and heard a rumbling noise.

05 Aug 14:29
Reports suggest that AngloGold Ashanti , Harmony Gold, Gold Fields & Sibanye Gold have mineworkers trapped underground.

05 Aug 14:28
We have received reports that miners affected on one of the mines in Orkney are safe and been brought to the surface, says ER24 in Potchefstroom has just tweeted.

05 Aug 14:26
What do you do after a quake?

05 Aug 14:16
Make sure your building is evacuated as soon as possible should there be a quake, advises ER24's Werner Vermaak.

05 Aug 14:15

05 Aug 14:14
Geologist Oliver Barker: The fact that it was felt regionally indicates that it was a deeper event, possibly below mining level.

05 Aug 14:10
Old buildings, old mining houses have collapsed, lots of debris, says ER24's Werner Vermaak.

05 Aug 14:09
Did you feel the tremor in your area? Tell us where. Have you heard of anybody injured? Upload PHOTOS, upload STORIES, or E-MAIL.

05 Aug 14:08
ER24 says its personnel and that of RescueSA have been placed on standby for trapped miners.

05 Aug 14:06
The man who was killed after the wall collapsed was said to be in his 30's.

05 Aug 14:06

Some mineworkers at Orkney in the North West were trapped following an earth tremor on Tuesday, said emergency workers.

ER24 spokesperson Luyanda Majija said they had received reports that the tremor had had a significant impact on one mine.

"Our crew is heading to the mine where miners are reported to trapped at 11 shafts," said Majija.She could not immediately confirm the name of the mine.

EWN has tweeted that some mines are shutting down despite some workers still being trapped underground.

05 Aug 14:01

05 Aug 13:55
OK Furniture in Stilfontein’s roof fell in. (North West) - News24 user

05 Aug 13:51

05 Aug 13:51
Council of Geosciences geologist Michelle Grobbelaar has confirmed the magnitude of the earthquake in the KOSH (Klerksdorp, Orkney, Stilfontein, Hartebeesfontein) region as 5.5.

05 Aug 13:42
AngloGold Ashanti, Harmony Gold, Gold Fields and Sibanye Gold have felt tremors in their headquarters but has so far not reported anything untoward in their mines.

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