New York and beyond rattled by rare East Coast earthquake

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New York and cities on the US East Coast are assessing the impact of a rare earthquake that swayed landmarks and cracked roads.

The magnitude-4.8 quake struck at 10:23 local time (15:23 GMT) near Lebanon, New Jersey, and could be felt from Pennsylvania to Connecticut.

Residents spoke of being rocked by a violent rumbling that threw objects around their homes and damaged walls.

Officials are now conducting safety assessments of infrastructure.

In New York, the Statue of Liberty was seen swaying, while workers and residents across the city’s five boroughs reported violent rumbling.

Jane Coxwell told the BBC she felt a “rattling” like a train passing while she was in a building in lower Manhattan. “Living in New York I have become accustomed to rattling from the subway. That’s what I thought it was,” she said.

“Then I realised I was on the ninth floor. It was a bit unsteady for sure. It felt like a passing train.”

Reuters New York quakeReuters

Brooklyn and the Bronx residents reported rattling cupboards, doors and fixtures.

Charita Walcott, a 38-year-old from the Bronx, said the quake felt “like a violent rumble that lasted about 30 seconds or so”.

“It was kind of like being in a drum circle, that vibration,” she said.

Another New York resident told the BBC’s US partner CBS News how their lazy morning suddenly turned. “I was laying in my bed, and my whole apartment building started shaking. I started freaking out,” they said.

At the UN Security Council headquarters, a meeting on Gaza was temporarily paused due to the tremor. “Is that an earthquake?” said Save the Children representative Janti Soeripto, who was speaking at the time.

Aircraft at two airports – JFK in New York and Newark in New Jersey – were temporarily grounded while runways were inspected.

Yet for all of the drama, New York state Governor Kathy Hochul said there had been no reports of major damage or injuries. She warned of the possibility of aftershocks, even if the chances were slim.

She added that officials had started a damage assessment across the state to ensure the safety of buildings and infrastructure. “It’s been an unsettling day, to say the least,” she added.

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