The 57-year-old Arecibo Radio Telescope is destroyed when its 900-ton equipment platform, suspended over the massive dish built into a geographic feature near Arecibo, Puerto Rico, falls into the dish, causing catastrophic damage to both. The platform had been suspended by miles of steel cables from three towers over the dish, through a recent assessment of the ability of both cables and towers to bear the platform’s load had raised doubts that the facility could remain operational. As the decision had already been made to decommission and dismantle the Arecibo telescope, the facility had already been evacuated prior to the collapse. The towers holding the platform over the dish also suffer severe damage, rendering them structurally unsafe as well. Locals compared the sound of the event to that of an avalanche or an earthquake.