Newsreaders forced to take cover live on air as huge earthquake hits California

The newsreaders were forced to duck for cover. Source: Twitter/BBC News.

A dramatic video of two newsreaders panicking before ducking under their desk and taking cover live on air has gone viral, after Southern California was hit with its worst earthquake in 20 years.

The 7.1 magnitude earthquake hit close to the city of Ridgecrest – about 240km north-east of Los Angeles – on Saturday (Friday local time). It struck close to the same area where a 6.4 earthquake hit the day before.

Kern Country Fire has since confirmed there were no reported fatalities, but there has been significant damage to buildings in the surrounding areas.

However, the strong tremors could be felt for miles around and news anchors Juan Fernandez and Sara Donchey, reporting for CBS in Los Angeles, were forced to cut off their live broadcast as they sought cover in panic.

“We are experiencing quite a bit of shaking if you bear with us a moment,” Donchey can be heard saying in the video, which has been widely shared online.

“We’re making sure nothing is going to come down in the studio here.”

As she grab’s her co-host’s arm, she adds: “This is a very strong earthquake… 8:21 here and we’re experiencing very strong shaking. I think we need to get under the desk Juan.”

She immediately ducked under her desk, before the broadcast cut to an ad break.

Meanwhile, the NBA were forced to cancel the nationally televised Summer League game between the New York Knicks and the New Orleans Pelicans, as the tremor hit there.

The players and coaches were captured on camera as they walked off the court after tremors were felt throughout the arena.

Speakers and equipment on the roof could be seen rocking with the powerful tremor, as the game was shut off.

And elsewhere at Disneyland, a roller coaster was even forced to stop mid-way round – leaving people stranded amid fears for their safety.

Several people began tweeting about the temporary stop at Disneyland in Anaheim, while riding the Space Mountain roller coaster.

“Apparently there was an earthquake while we were on space mountain so they stopped it mid-ride,” one person said on Twitter, before sharing a video from inside the ride.

Seismologist Dr Lucy Jones has since revealed in a press conference that tremors may continue in the area, the BBC reports.

“This is an earthquake sequence,” she said. “It will be ongoing.”

“Every earthquake makes another earthquake more likely,” she added, saying there was a 10 per cent chance of a similar or larger tremor following next week.

Kern County Fire confirmed there had been extensive damage throughout, tweeting: “The damage to many local businesses has been significant between the two major earthquakes in the past days. Damage assessments will be ongoing.”

Have you been following this story? Have you ever been caught in an earthquake situation?

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