Masts made Shenzhen tower shake, causing panic, experts say

The pronounced wobbling of a 71-storey skyscraper in the southeastern Chinese city of Shenzhen that caused a panicked stampede in the streets below in May was caused by wind hitting the tower’s masts, a state-convened group of experts has concluded.

‘Vortex induced resonance’ originating from the ‘aged’ masts made the building shake, but left it secure and stable, the experts said, reports Global Times.

The SEG Plaza, Shenzhen, photographed in February 2021 (Charlie fong/CC BY-SA 4.0)

The 21-year-old SEG Plaza tower, with a roof height of 292m, started wobbling at around 1.50pm local time on 18 May, prompting its evacuation and panic among shoppers in the streets below.

  • See panic at street level as skyscraper shakes:


Data showed that the tower had resonated 21 times between 18-20 May.

The experts recommended dismantling the old masts and installing new ones in a different arrangement, said Global Times.

The tower has been sealed off since the incident.

As well as offices, the building housed a vast, multi-level consumer electronics market.

Top image: The SEG Plaza, Shenzhen (Detail from a photograph by Charlie fong/CC BY-SA 4.0)

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