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Chinese villager builds floating pods to survive disasters

By Alexandra Hoegberg, for CNN
updated 3:39 AM EST, Thu December 13, 2012
Chinese villager Liu Qiyuan, pictured here on December 11, has constructed six survival pods that can be used in the event of tsunamis and earthquakes. Chinese villager Liu Qiyuan, pictured here on December 11, has constructed six survival pods that can be used in the event of tsunamis and earthquakes.
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Survival pods
Carbon fiber
Unique decor
Emergency exit
Built to float
Doomsday
Rescue vessels?
Team work
Pod builder
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • A Chinese villager has built six 'survival pods'
  • The pods are built to withstand tsunamis or earthquakes
  • The pods were partly inspired by the disaster movie '2012' and the 2004 Asian tsunami
  • It cost almost $320,000 to build the six pods

Hong Kong (CNN) -- A Chinese villager has spent almost $320,000 on constructing six floating survival pods that are built to withstand tsunamis, earthquakes and other natural disasters, Hong Kong's South China Morning Post has reported.

The pods, weighing four tons each and consisting of two thick layers of fire-proof and shock-resistant carbon fiber, sit in Liu Qiyuan's yard in Qiantun, a small village in the northern Chinese province of Hebei.

With December 21 looming, a date when some have predicted the apocalypse would occur, the bizarre contraptions have attracted a huge amount of attention, but Liu told The South China Morning Post that his motivation for building them went further back.

While the Hollywood disaster movie '2012' and the 2004 Asian tsunami were factors, Liu said he ultimately made the decision to build the pods after his village was swept by doomsday rumors in the early 1990s.

Despite assuring his young daughter that the end was not nigh, Liu said the girl asked him to build an indestructible house. Now, Liu is making good on that promise.

The airtight spheres have varying interiors, but they all come with oxygen tanks and seatbelts, and each is equipped to hold about 14 people. They are designed to remain upright when floating in water.

Some people in his village thought he was crazy when he began construction in March, and both his daughter and wife tried to talk him out of the project.

But Liu is hoping that governments and international organizations will adopt his pods and use them in natural disasters.

"Men don't just live to make money," the South China Morning Post quoted him as saying. "My design could be used by cruise ships to save lives. If anyone survives a shipwreck with my device, I will call it a good investment."

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