The team at Global Net Productions, headed by Michael Lienau, made a 2003 DVD about the Northwest earthquake threat called Cascadia: The Hidden Fire. They interviewed Brian Schimpf, an air traffic controller at the Sea-Tac Airport, about his experience of the Nisqually earthquake. Schimpf said:
February 28th was a normal day in the Seattle area for us. We had quite a few arrivals and departures, and it had been very busy. [The earthquake started and] I thought, ‘OK, this is an earthquake, and it’s not going to be a big deal,’ and I just put my hands on the console for a minute to steady myself a little bit. The glass panels started to break all around me. And I could see the ceiling over me twisting, and moving, shaking. Everything that was hanging over my head was on its way to the ground. It was my belief at that point that the tower would collapse and I would most likely perish.
Also, here, as it appears in Robert S. Yeats’ book, Living With Earthquakes in the Pacific Northwest, is a transcript of Schimpf’s communications with a pilot during the earthquake:
Tower: Horizon 177. [this is] Seattle Tower, you ‘re No. 2 following a heavy Boeing 767, short final. Wind 130 at 8. Runway 16 Right.
Cleared to land. (Pause). All right, we’ve got an earthquake.
Everybody hold on. folks. (Pause). Attention all aircraft in Seattle. We have a huge earthquake going on. The tower is collapsing. I say again. The tower is falling apart. Hang on everybody. (Pause) OK. we got a huge earthquake going on in Seattle. Everybody be careful out there, all right?
Pilot: American 27 heavy, we’re about to turn final.
Tower: All right, everybody on Seattle Tower, I want you to use extreme caution. The tower windows have collapsed here. Asiana 272 heavy, turn left here, hold short on 16 Left, remain on this frequency.
And Horizon 301, I want you to turn left, and I want you to go to the ramp, and remain on this frequency. All the windows are gone from the tower but two.
Pilot: This is 301, we’re turning off here at–
Tower: All right, I want everyone to pay attention here, because I don’t know what’s working and what’s not. All the windows are gone.