Thousands evacuated after 'loud crack' in Sydney tower

Thousands evacuated after 'loud crack' in Sydney tower

Thousands evacuated after 'loud crack' in Sydney tower

A number of residents have returned to their apartments while several have had to relocate following reports of people hearing and seeing "cracking" in a 38-story high-rise building in Sydney, Australia, throughout the morning of December 24.

Residents at Sydney's Opal Tower high-rise have described the chaos of being forced to evacuate the 38-storey building on Christmas Eve after feeling it move.

Many residents heard "cracking" noises at the brand new complex and raised the alarm - and a full evacuation followed as authorities scrambled to discover what was wrong.

More than 200 people living in Opal Tower in the Australian city's Olympic Park were evacuated on Christmas Eve, along with over 3,000 from nearby buildings as a 1km exclusion zone was put in place by New South Wales Police.

"It's not going to be done in minutes, hopefully it won't take longer than hours", he told reporters in Sydney.

The 117m Opal tower has 392 apartments over 34 storeys along with a childcare centre and other businesses and amenities. They were not allowed back into their homes but were sent to an evacuation centre in central Sydney-the Royal Hall of Industries.

A resident of Opal Tower told local media he heard a loud bang as if something in the building had "snapped".

Ecove is now developing a fifth apartment building, the 38-storey Boomerang Tower.

"The number one priority for us is the safety of people - both the people inside the building and people in surrounding areas", Det Supt Rogerson said.

Police say experts have found the $165m (£92m) building, which was completed in August, has moved between one and two millimeters.

The building was only completed in March and opened in August, and cost $165 million to build by developer Ecove, which built numerous others nearby.

"It's been a particularly frustrating time for residents and we're very aware they are keen to go home the night before Christmas", Boon said.

Another resident told ABC News there were cracks on the building's 12th and 13th floors.

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