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Tuesday, 21 May 2019 02:35 pm

Canterbury Uni student relives horror

Feb 25th, 2011 | By | Category: Front Page Layout, Latest News, News, Uncategorized


CHAIN REACTION: Canterbury University Library after the quake.

STACEY (21) is a Canterbury University student who was on campus at the time of Tuesday’s quake.  Stacey, who did not want her last name used because of fears of looting, tells of her “horrific” quake experience.
“The whole library shook like nothing I had felt before and we have been through some nasty, nasty shocks. It was side-to-side so fast. The noise was absolutely terrifying. This was comparable to the noise of an aeroplane,” she says.

“It went pitch black as the lights failed. I was thrown a few metres over into a computer table, hit my head, and a guy pulled me under the computer table and a girl held my back. I honestly thought the library was collapsing as I heard loud noises and people screaming everywhere.

“When it stopped, there were already men in hard hats yelling for us to evacuate…I looked back and saw the library still standing. I couldn’t believe it, and how lucky we were.

“Everywhere you looked there were people hugging in groups, scared and crying.”

She started to receive text messages from friends and family around the country, checking to see if they were both all right.

“I turned on the radio which was the worst thing because they mentioned bodies being pulled out of one of the malls in the city. I freaked out as I still hadn’t heard from [my partner]. It was horrific.”

Stacey’s partner finally found her more than an hour after the initial quake and they began to drive home.

“It was really scary trying to cross the intersection with no lights, and everyone rushing to get places. Another aftershock hit and all the cars bumped around. Everyone [was]…talking through [open] windows and wishing everyone well,” she says.

When they did make it home they were the only people on their street with power. 

They welcomed in many neighbours and friends who needed to make phone calls, charge their cell phones, watch or listen to the news, and get water.

On Wednesday morning, Stacey and her partner spent roughly 40 minutes lined up for petrol.

“We managed to get five bottles of 750ml water and some chewing gum as we couldn’t use toothbrushes etc. That’s when it began to sink in that we were really running on thin resources,” she says.

The pair was able to fly to their North Island hometown on Thursday afternoon, thanks to the help of a family member who purchased tickets online.

“Christchurch is the most beautiful place to live in and that’s why we didn’t want to leave. It felt like we were abandoning it, but we did it for good reasons. We [thought we] should leave and let the water and power be used for other people. We will go back.”

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is a Whitireia journalism student.
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