Skyscraper Begins Swaying, Sparking Mass Panic As People Flee

Hundreds of shoppers were seen fleeing the base of a 1,000-foot skyscraper in southern China on Tuesday, after the 72-floor building began shaking and swaying.

A notice released by the municipal government of Shenzhen, a technology hub in Guangdong province on the border of Hong Kong, said the city's various earthquake monitoring stations picked up no seismic activity on the day.

Footage going viral on Chinese social media sites Weibo, Douyin and Kuaishou showed panicked crowds fleeing in unison following reports of shaking at the Huaqiangbei shopping area in Shenzhen's Futian District.

In the videos, members of the public are seen with shopping bags, with a number of them turning to look at the 356-meter (1,167-foot) SEG Plaza skyscraper behind them.

Patrons and staff flooded out the tower during the mass panic before some trained their camera phones on the building, which appeared to be swaying from side to side. Several videos also captured the antennas above the building as they seemed to be wobbling.

The Futian district government said staff inside SEG Plaza received reports of shaking at 12:31 p.m. local time. The building was evacuated "in an orderly fashion: and cleared of people by 1:55 p.m."

A preliminary investigation of the building found no cracks in the surrounding area and no damage to the structure's exterior wall, its statement added.

The cause of the incident was still being investigated.

No injuries were reported during the incident, a spokesperson for SEG Plaza told Chudian News, an online portal under the auspices of Guangdong Radio and Television.

He described the event as an "anomaly" and said the cause was unclear. "The government is here to investigate," the spokesperson added, without elaborating on the sequence of events.

According to Shenzhen's Emergency Management Bureau, monitoring stations picked up no earthquake activity at the time or throughout the day.

A report of the incident by China's state broadcaster CCTV was flooded with social media comments suggesting the shaking was due to the building having sunk into its foundation.

The comments appeared to be citing unconfirmed reports, which said the construction of nearby subway stations may have contributed to the incident. The skyscraper—completed in 2000—is reachable via Huaqiang Road and Huaqiang North stations of the Shenzhen Metro.

SEG Plaza, which was named after the Shenzhen Electronics Group headquarters, is the 21st tallest building in China and the 72nd tallest in the world. It also has four basement levels.

China Skyscraper Sways And Shakes
The 72-floor SEG Plaza in Shenzhen, Guangdong, China. laomaosz