It was a mundane Friday morning for clerk Marina Semion as she busied herself in the kitchen preparing breakfast for her husband and three small children.

And then, she felt the roof of her house shake in an unusual way.

“I first thought it was a cat running around on the roof as that normally happens. But there was something different this time around.

“I felt like I couldn’t stand up straight. I had to hold on to the stair banister as the shaking intensified,” she told Astro AWANI today.

She said she felt the tremors around 7.15am.

PHOTOS: Ranau earthquake

It was coincidental that Marina and her husband were both at home as civil servants were given a special day off in Ranau today. It was an unexpected situation for the family.

"In trying to stay calm, I caught a glimpse of the view outside my house during the 40-second tremor. I saw the trees shaking violently.

“Dogs were also barking continously at each other while in the sky, the bird were flying aimlessly," she said, adding that the violent tremors sent items on shelves and walls in her house scattering across the floor.
I felt like I couldn’t stand up straight. I had to hold on to the stair banister as the shaking intensified.

As the violent shaking continued, Marina was unable to do anything except wrapped her arms around the stair banister and clung on tight. She also knew at that moment, her three children had been awakened from their sleep and were being pacified by their father.

"They were startled by the tremors but they didn't cry. My youngest child however, did ask to be held and carried.

"We've felt these tremors three times since moving here in 2011, but this is the strongest," Marina said adding that after the tremors subsided only did her children start to cry. She and her husband had also felt dizzy and disorientated.

The whole neighbourbood was thrown in a frenzy as residents took to the streets in the aftermath of the quake.

Cracks appeared on several buildings includings a nearby school and these housing quarters they were living in.

"We are lucky no one in my neighbourhood was seriously hurt. I shudder to think about the fate of the hikers stranded at the peak of Mount Kinabalu. I hope they have been brought to safety," Marina said.

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