The quake's epicenter was recorded 50km off the coast of Bowen.
The quake's epicenter was recorded 50km off the coast of Bowen. Kathryn Cygan

Bowen resident describes things shaking out of cupboards

ROSS Newell was working from his Queens Beach home in Bowen when the 5.8 magnitude earthquake hit yesterday afternoon.

He describes the wooden floor of his house shaking and things falling out of cupboards onto the floor.

"Initially, like everything it take you off guard for the moment. It takes a couple of minutes for it to sink in what's happening," he said.

"There was an incredible rumbling. Across the road was a caravan that was passing through and you could actually see it shaking."

"It was only a matter of seconds but feels like a lifetime."

Mr Newell said it provided him with an appreciation of what it was like for victims of the Christchurch earthquake in 2010 and the Newcastle quake in 1989.

He said Bowen had been hit by an earthquake 18 months ago but yesterday's was much stronger.

Mr Newell's house on the water at Queens Beach would be one of the closest houses to the epicentre which was recorded 50kms off the coast of Bowen.

He said the thought of a tsunami "crosses your mind".

"But I didn't think it lasted long enough and I didn't really see it as a likelihood," he said.

"But certainly if there was a tsunami it would affect you for sure."

Mr Newell said his son worked on Hayman Island and he had heard reports of staff being moved to a central location as a precaution.

He also said he'd experienced an aftershock at 4am in Bowen but thought it only lasted two or three seconds.

Shauna O'Shannessy lives not far from Mr Newell at Queens Beach.

She describes a "violent and sudden" quake.

""I was in the lounge chair and it was rolling in whatever direction the ground was moving (and) I was suddenly standing up. I thought 'should I go to the door,' but I didn't because the ground was shaking that much," she said.

"Then I sat back down. Everything was swinging, it was sudden and violent and very strange.

Ms O'Shannessy said she knew it was an earthquake because she had felt them before and she also knew there was nothing she could do.

"At first I honestly thought something had exploded locally, it was quite large," she said

Bowen councillor Mike Brunker said today that if the epicentre had been inland the effects would have been very different.

Cr Brunker was in Brisbane at the time of the quake and heard about it from his wife.

"I was surprised at how wide the area was that was covered by the quake," he said.

Mr Brunker said SunWater had been contacted but there were no reports of damaged dams or water pipe-lines.


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