PIA members caught in Anchorage earthquake
November 29, 2018
Although this morning's earthquake in Anchorage was too far away to be felt in Petersburg, members of the Petersburg Indian Association were getting ready to leave Anchorage after attending a Bureau of Indian Affairs conference when the ground began to shake at about 8:30 A.M.
"Oh my gosh, it was just really scary because it just kept going," said Jeanette Ness, a social worker with PIA who was in the airport waiting for the number 64 jet when the earthquake started.
Ness said that ceiling tiles started falling, and the room was filled with dust. Some were crying and others were struggling to breathe because of the dust. Immediately, everyone in the airport was evacuated outside, and Ness found herself following the crowd because she didn't know what to do.
After the earthquake hit, she said over 30 aftershocks followed.
"And then, the aftershocks just kept coming," said Ness. "It was scary. I got scared."
Before entering the airport again, everyone had to go through security. Ness said she had never seen such long TSA lines. Her plane was rescheduled and she expects to arrive in Petersburg later this evening.
Back at the hotel, PIA council member Mary Ann Rainey was packing her bags and getting ready to check out and head to the airport when the earthquake started.
"I just got a little disoriented," said Rainey. "First, it just rattled a little bit. I didn't know what was happening. When things started falling off the wall, then I knew."
She was on the fourth floor, but other members of PIA were on the seventh floor. Not wanting to use the elevators, they took the stairs down to the first floor. By the time they got outside, the earthquake had ended. She was supposed to fly out of Anchorage today, but she ended up staying with her daughter, Christine Graves, who lives in Anchorage. At Graves' house, things were knocked over and broken glass was everywhere, said Rainey.
She hopes to be back in Petersburg on Sunday, but Rainey said she hasn't been able to talk to Alaska Airlines yet.
"I'm calmed down now, but we were pretty shaken because that room really rolled," said Rainey.
According to the Alaska Earthquake Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, the 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck at 8:29 A.M. this morning 27 miles below ground just north of Anchorage outside of Point MacKenzie.