Earthquake 114 Miles Away

Ontario Airport didn't receive any damage


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After a series of large earthquakes had occurred around the world, namely Haiti and Chile, California experienced a 7.2 on Easter Sunday, April 4, without much incident. The epicenter was in Colexico, California about 114 miles from Idyllwild.

Twenty six Idyllwild Arts students were scheduled to arrive at Ontario Airport that day, with more expected at LAX and Palm Springs Airports.

When the earthquake hit at 2:40 p.m. at Ontario, people waiting on passengers noticed something unusual.

“Did you feel that?” those standing near the information booth said to strangers nearby. Everyone smiled and appeared to be relieved when the tremor stopped.

“My seat started shaking, and I could feel a rumbling on the floor, but thought it was just a plane taking off,” said a college student from LA who was waiting on her sister to arrive. “It seemed to go on for eternity.”

The actual tremor lasted for several seconds, but was longer than most earthquakes that are felt in the Idyllwild area.

“This one was different,” said JoAnn Johnson, who owns Manzanita Cabins in Idyllwild. “Normally, I hear a rumble down Pinecrest, then a ‘boom,’ and that’s it. But this one kept on going.”

She said that there was no damage to her business, and nothing fell from the shelves, but it was more intense than most earthquakes lately.

“If you were close to the epicenter, you wouldn’t be able to stand up,” said Jeffrey Taylor, who owns Green Cafe, an internet business in Idyllwild. On his web site, www.greencafe.com, Taylor has programmed information from U.S. government web sites that will automatically register any earthquakes and tsunamis from around the world. Immediately, the earthquake registered on his web site, along with 10 aftershocks in the days following.

“It’s as large as the Northridge earthquake,” Taylor said somberly. He was living in Los Angeles at the time, and had run outside to safety, only to be bit on the forearm by a strange dog. The large scar still is evident. Afterwards, he came to Idyllwild to relax, and realized that he could start an internet business here.

When the earthquake hit Sunday, Idyllwild Arts student Jacob Gershel’s plane was circling over Ontario Airport.

“They wouldn’t let us land right away,” Gershel said. “They had to see if there was any structural damage to the runway before they cleared us.”

Other Idyllwild Arts students who arrived later from Alaska around 5 p.m. missed the excitement.

Others, like Rosario Flores from the Idyllwild Arts Finance Department, didn’t have a happy Easter.

“The earthquake was close to the Mexico border,” she said, of her family that still lives there. By Wednesday, April 7, they still didn’t have electricity or water.

For more information on the Colexico earthquake and its aftershocks, visit www.greencafe.com.


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Ontario Airport Stairs

Ontario Airport didn't receive any damage
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