Video Released of Earthquake Shaking Washington Monument

Tourists panic at 500 feet

Tuesday, Sep 27, 2011  |  Updated 8:07 AM EDT
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As crews prepare to get a closer look at the exterior damage to the Washington Monument, officials release video from inside during last month's earthquake.

Derrick Ward

As crews prepare to get a closer look at the exterior damage to the Washington Monument, officials release video from inside during last month's earthquake.

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Video released Monday by the National Park Service show what it was like to experience an earthquake at the top of the Washington Monument.

Three security camera videos taken 500 feet up show how the quake caused panic among tourists and shook pieces of the monument down from the very top of the structure.

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake on Aug. 23 was centered 84 miles southwest of D.C. in Mineral, Va., but it did enough damage to close the Washington Monument to visitors for the foreseeable future while crews work to repair the damage.

The quake cracked four stones near the top of the 555-foot monument. Days later, Hurricane Irene lashed the monument with strong winds and heavy rain. More cracks became apparent, and there was some interior flooding.

In the first video released, the National Park Service said the ranger at the top of the monument followed protocol by guiding visitors to the emergency exit door on the 490 level, which opens inward, and then returned to the 500 level to ensure that all visitors were out.

 

In the second video, debris can be seen falling down as the structure shook.

 

In the third video, more debris can be seen as tourists rush out of the 500 level and down the stairs.
 

 

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