A Heart-Stopping Video Shows People Running For Their Lives After an Earthquake Destroys Building

Gymgoers caught unaware as ceiling crashes down.

A 6.9-magnitude earthquake hit Taiwan on Sunday, and a remarkable video shows half a dozen badminton players running out of the way as a gym's ceiling collapses, some of them avoiding the destruction by mere seconds. Read on to find out what happened in the building, how extensive the damage was in the country overall, and why this wasn't the only viral video to emerge from the quake.

Gymgoers Caught Unaware As Ceiling Crashes Down

KHOU 11/YouTube

The earthquake hit around 4 pm local time. The video shows that several badminton courts were occupied in the newly renovated gym, and players narrowly escaped injury as ceiling panels and building components crashed to the floor.

"When you're on a low floor, you sometimes don't feel the earthquake," explained CNN correspondent Will Ripley. "These kids are playing, they may not have known until things started tumbling down." Remarkably, no one was injured at the site. Keep reading to learn more and see the video.

Social Media Reacts

KHOU 11/YouTube

One YouTube commenter said the video was "Like a movie. Glad no one got hurt." "You can see it move like a shock wave. Starts at one side of the room and moves to the other," said another. "Wild to see and perfect example of how an earthquake moves under the ground." "Wow," said another. "Puts new meaning to 'dropped ceiling.'"

More Than 50 Quakes Reported

KHOU 11/YouTube

CNN reported that more than 50 earthquakes had hit Taiwan in a 24-hour period, beginning with a 6.4-magnitude quake on Saturday. Sunday's earthquake hit the Chishang township in rural southeastern Taiwan. Japan's Meteorological Agency issued a tsunami warning for Miyako island in the East China Sea, which expired without incident. 

Many Aftershocks Recorded

KHOU 11/YouTube

NBC News reported that numerous aftershocks were felt across Taiwan after the quake, including in Taipei, more than 200 miles away. More than 100 aftershocks were recorded in the past 24 hours, according to Taiwan's Central Weather Bureau. Near the epicenter, Taiwanese media showed a low-rise building housing a convenience store had collapsed and rescue operations were in progress.

Watch This Sway Within a Huge Skyscraper


The earthquake provided another viral video that shows how the area's earthquake threat is counteracted by engineering in one building. The Taipei 101 skyscraper—the world's tallest building from 2004 to 2009—soars 101 stories above street level and contains a 660-ton steel ball between the 92nd and the 87th floors. The tourist attraction, known as a Tuned Mass Damper, is designed to reduce vibrations from phenomena like earthquakes. This weekend, Taiwan News tweeted video of the huge ball swaying during the quake, about eight inches from its normal state of equilibrium.

Quakes Common in Taiwan


Taiwan is particularly prone to earthquakes. The country sits near the junction of several tectonic plates. In 2016, more than 100 people were killed in a quake in southern Taiwan, while a 7.3 magnitude quake killed more than 2,000 people in 1999.

Michael Martin
Michael Martin is a New York City-based writer and editor whose health and lifestyle content has also been published on Beachbody and Openfit. A contributing writer for Eat This, Not That!, he has also been published in New York, Architectural Digest, Interview, and many others. Read more
Filed Under