Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

THE BAY AREA QUAKE : 5:04 P.M. : A TIME WHEN LIVES CHANGED : Tales of the Quake: Death, Heroes and Luck : On Golden Gate Bridge--a Scare

October 20, 1989|CATHLEEN DECKER

Lissa Collins-Gudim, 28, was halfway across the Golden Gate Bridge, heading toward San Francisco from a house-hunting trip to Sonoma with her husband, Tim, when it began.

"The first thing I thought was maybe we'd lost all four tires," said the Pacific Palisades resident. "All of a sudden, the guy driving us, the real estate broker, said: 'Oh, my God! We're having an earthquake!' And then it got worse.

"The bridge was swaying . . . . The next thing that happened is that it began waving. It fanned, sort of. The cables--the little ones that go up and down--were like spaghetti. The big ones, those big fat ones, they were moving from side to side, six feet in either direction."

Brake lights flared. Cars screeched to a halt, each driver trying to avoid the next. Across the bay in San Francisco, a huge column of dust arose from the collapsed buildings in the Marina District.

On the Golden Gate, the swaying lasted 40 to 50 seconds, Collins-Gudim estimated, nearly three times the elapsed time of the actual quake.

"I just thought I was never going to see my kids again," she said. "I had my hand on the car door. If we were going to fall in the water, I didn't want to drown."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|