Are You At A Safe Place or Just At The Right Time?Tuesday, November 10, 2009Traveliztera
I'm currently watching "Seconds From Disaster" on the National Geographic channel and this episode's about the collapse of Sampoong mall in Seoul, Korea. I've seen this episode a few years ago and it always leaves this eerie feeling inside me.
THE STORY (from Wikipedia)
In April 1995, cracks began to appear in the ceiling of the south wing's fifth floor. During this period, the only response carried out by Lee and his management involved moving merchandise and stores from the top floor to the basement.On the morning of June 29, the number of cracks in the area increased dramatically, prompting managers to close the top floor and shut the air conditioning off. The store management failed to shut the building down or issue formal evacuation orders, as the number of customers in the building was unusually high, and the store was not intending to lose potential revenue for that day. However, the executives themselves had left the premises as a precaution.Civil engineering experts were also invited to inspect the structure, with a cursory check revealing that the building was at risk of collapse; the National Geographic documentary series Seconds From Disaster indicates that the facility's manager was examining the slab in one of the restaurants on the fifth floor, eight hours before the collapse, when, unknowingly, vibration from air conditioning was radiating through the cracks in the concrete columns and the floor opened up.Five hours before the collapse, the first of several loud bangs was emitted from the top floors, as the vibration in the air conditioning caused the cracks in the slabs to widen further. Amid customer reports of vibration, the air conditioning was turned off, but the cracks in the floors had already widened to 10 cm.At about 5:00 p.m. Korea Standard Time (UTC+9:00), the fourth floor ceiling began to sink, resulting in store workers blocking customer access to the fourth floor. According to Seconds From Disaster, the store was packed with shoppers 52 minutes before the collapse, but the owner did not close the store or carry out repairs at that time. When the building started to produce cracking sounds at about 5:50 p.m., workers began to sound alarm bells and evacuate customers.Around 5:52 p.m., the roof gave way, and the air conditioning unit crashed through into the already-overloaded fifth floor. The main columns, weakened to allow the insertion of the escalators, collapsed in turn, and the building's south wing pancaked into the basement. Within 20 seconds, all of the building's columns in the south wing gave way, trapping more than 1,500 people and killing 500.
There had been a lot of structural collapses (due to miscalculations in the process of building or just because of corruption wherein the management chooses to risk lives for their own fortune) all over the world and we'll never know if the structure we're living in or even working at can actually be safe. Who knows? But of course, if it's really your time, it really IS your time. Anyway, back then, after having watched this certain episode, I was always paranoid whenever I go to huge malls or buildings. I always pray that my day will be safe. I know that the structures are not the only factors because you can always meet other accidents but you know that paranoia you get after watching something tragic? I was having that moment. Everybody can make mistakes and you just never know right? Everyone in this world has a continuous interaction and even a single person's mistake can greatly affect a lot of us. Honestly, the Glorietta tragedy scared me but then again, you'll never know when and where is safe. You just have to live your life and pray that everything will be okay that day. Everyone has their own destiny but we can still do something regarding those moments wherein everything can totally be prevented. For now, we just need to pray, prevent, be optimistic, and be alert. If it really is our time to go, it really is our time to go.
Oh my... Midlife (and I'm just 20 lol) crisis mode again!? LOL.
Check out the blog that my friend, Dom, created to raise awareness regarding our environment. She invited me to co-author it and I accepted. The blog is called "Voice of Fragile Earth". Feel free to visit. :)
Photo from http://anengineersaspect.blogspot.com.