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Carmarthen engineer to test tsunami survival capsule on Canada’s Niagara Falls

By LeeMacGregor  |  Posted: January 22, 2013

Julian Sharpe

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A CARMARTHEN engineer is planning to show the world how effective his disaster-proof capsule is — by going over Niagara Falls in it.

Former Queen Elizabeth Maridunum pupil Julian Sharpe, now based in Seattle, says his Survival Capsule  will save lives around the world during tsunamis, tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes and super storms.

An aeronautical engineer by trade  — his company, Idea International Inc, specialises in strengthening military and commercial planes — Julian said the idea simply struck him one night in a hotel room.

“I was staying in Cannon Beach, Oregon, which  is a pretty exposed area,” he said. “I thought to myself, what if a tsunami came — what would we do?

“So I went back to the office and we came up with the idea.”

A two-person prototype  is this week being put through rigorous, high-impact tests in front of Japanese investors ready for the capsule to be sold around the world.

And once the capsule makes it to production, Julian, who grew up in Tanerdy,  plans to demonstrate its capabilities in the most dramatic fashion –  by climbing inside and going over the world-famous 167ft falls.

“I will go in it myself,” he said. “We will actually do two runs. One with a crash test dummy, and if we get the thumbs-up we will do it with real people.”

Julian, who was adopted by     specialist dyslexia  teacher Pamela Anne Sharpe and Lampeter University philosophy professor Robert Augustus Sharpe, said the capsule would not only protect people during impact, but inside would include water and storage space for survival kit.

Of his childhood in Carmarthen, Julian, who also went to Prentrepoeth Primary School and Ystrad Towy, says he has fond memories of growing up in the town —  and still keeps in touch with old pals via social networking sites.

“I used to play a lot of rugby,” he said. “Our coach was Roy Bergiers. I  remember there was this young guy who was a couple of years younger. He was pretty good — his name was Ieuan Evans.

“I’m hoping to get back to Carmarthen soon,” he added.

“I definitely need to come back but we have people spread all over. My wife’s mother lives in Mexico and we only have a limited time to get away.

“There is talk of a reunion this year, so hopefully we’ll all get together.”

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  • ILoveMichu  |  January 22 2013, 11:56PM

    Most countries where tsunamis are a reality are relatively poor, something like this would cost a great deal of money, these areas now have alarms and sirens that go off. When you hear that alarm, the first thing you are going to do is make your way to high ground, not jump in a capsule and wait to be taken down the water ride from hell where you will be smacked into all sorts of concreate structures at huge forces over and over. Going down a waterfall might sound impressive, but it would not simulate what that capsule would face, and all you need to do is reach high ground, after the 2004 Tsunami, the protocols in place are now much more advanced.

  • weslangdon  |  January 22 2013, 5:55PM

    Great idea, not just for tsunami's but for boats, yachts, ships too but how much will they cost?

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