Microsoft chairman Bill Gates was caught in an earthquake that shook Seattle yesterday. He was speaking at a Microsoft-sponsored education and technology conference when the tremor struck and was whisked backstage to safety.
The earthquake, measuring 6.8 on the Richter Scale, hit Seattle at 10.55am local time. The city is home to Amazon and Real Networks.
A number of lights hanging from the ceiling of the auditorium where Gates was speaking came down as members of the audience scrambled for the exits. A few people were knocked over in the rush.
Gates himself was led to safety and returned about an hour later to field questions from the 500 education professionals who attended the event, said a Microsoft spokeswoman.
Staff at Real Networks and Amazon were evacuated from their offices, while bricks and other material fell from buildings damaging cars elsewhere in the city centre.
The quake's epicentre was just over 50km away from Seattle and was felt as far as Salt Lake City, more than 1000km away.
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