Investigation launched into swaying Chinese skyscraper after hundreds forced to flee

SEG building Shenzhen
SEG building Shenzhen Photo credit: Twitter @dZnJUCdo4FlZqgd

A landmark skyscraper in the Chinese city of Shenzhen started to shake on March 18, leading hundreds to flee.

Emergency services in the city said they received reports the 300-metre tall, 79-floor building was swaying and authorities were still investigating the cause. 

The Shenzhen Emergency Management Bureau stated there was no earthquake in the city when the shaking started just before 2pm and the wind speed in the city was recorded to be around 27km per hour, not likely to cause the swaying of skyscrapers. 

The SEG Plaza is similar in height to the Empire State Building in New York and is located in one of the world's largest hardware and electronic markets. 

In video footage uploaded to Chinese social media, hundreds were seen fleeing the building. No reports of casualties, injuries or property losses have been reported. 

A hard drive vendor in an electronic store attached to the building, Chen Wei, told the South China Post he did not feel the shaking but was told to evacuate by others. 

"One of my friends was in the building and noticed that the water bottles on the desk started to shake." 

He claimed other buildings also had to evacuate nearby and traffic on certain roads was temporarily blocked. 

A Store manager on the 14th floor of the building, Ji Jialin told the outlet that the shaking was not as strong on her level. 

"We all escaped with others by taking the stairs," Ji said. 

China Construction Science and Industry Corporation chief engineer Lu Jianxin told the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily that the shaking could have been caused by "resonance" effects. 

"If there was no earthquake today, it would be unusual for SEG Plaza to have such a situation.

"Judging from the currently available information, this could be an accidental frequency coincidence, that is, resonance." 

He added that an official investigation would need to confirm the reason why the plaza was swaying. 

The plaza remained closed on May 18 and the fire service was parked outside the building. Local police told Chinese media she had not received any information on when the plaza would re-open. 

The event comes less than a year after a five-story quarantine hotel in the city of Quanzhou collapsed because of shoddy construction, killing 29 people.