Indian techie's 27th floor quake terror

Killer waves: Cabinets went boom, people panicked, says IT professional

The former Bangalore IT professional, a Chennai native, told Deccan Herald of the terror that gripped Japan’s capital city, Tokyo, as a 8.9-magnitude earthquake hit on Friday. “The cabinets started shaking with a great noise - boom, boom, boom, boom - and people were panicking as they fell down,” Prakash said.

“It felt like it was going to be the Titanic. I was ready for the whole building to collapse. I thought, ‘What will I do?’, and looked for something to hold.”

The shaking was deceptively softly to start with, he said. It was like the earthquakes they got every month in Tokyo, if not every week. Then it picked up. “It just got heavier and heavier. All the documents in the office were falling down and the ceiling started cracking,” Prakash said. He knew this one was different.

Rescue act

He reached down for an emergency kit that Japanese offices keep under every desk - but it wasn’t there. So he took a colleague and dashed across the room, and grabbed helmets and supplies, including food and torches.

They hunkered down as the skyscraper rocked violently. When the earthquake finally passed, it was time to evacuate. Prakash began descending the stairs and got about 20 storeys down when the first aftershock, almost as big as the initial quake, struck. “We couldn’t walk. The shaking pushed us around. There was panic again because if something happened, we would be done for,” he said. Fire brigade sirens blared in the distance and public transport had ground to a halt by the time Prakash reached the ground.

It took him two hours to walk 10 km home, and as evening fell, he managed to could connect on his mobile phone and called his brother in Bangalore.

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