City buildings crumble from the force of the 7.1 magnitude quake.
City buildings crumble from the force of the 7.1 magnitude quake.

Local caught in NZ earthquakes

BUNDABERG student Stephen Walters was not planning for his first visit to New Zealand to be quite so memorable.

But the CQUniversity student found himself in the middle of a state of emergency when he and his friends arrived in Christchurch last week just in time to be caught in a devastating earthquake.

Mr Walters trip included visiting the inspiring sky tower in Auckland, mud baths and hot pools in Rotorua, whitewater rafting at Taupo and jet boat riding the Huka Falls.

“All of these activities were breathtaking and memorable,” Mr Walters said.

But they paled compared to the earthquake that hit Christchurch.

The quake hit at 4.30am on Saturday at a 7.1 magnitude.

“That was the same as the earthquake that hit Haiti earlier this year,” Mr Walters said.

He said he was staying in a two-storey townhouse, which was comfortable enough but had no water after the quake.

“Rather than complain, we decided to wait to see if the water would be on the next morning,” Mr Walters said.

He said that about 11.30pm Saturday he was woken by a feeling the whole house was swaying on its foundations.

This was an aftershock, but the next morning the city was hit by another quake that measured 5.4.

“This time there was an enormous bang that sounded like an explosion, followed by a rising and falling movement that was very different to the previous evening's aftershock and definitely more frightening,” he said.

“At this point I was happy to be going home to Bundaberg and was looking forward to the confirmation of our flights.”

Mr Walters said despite both domestic and international flights being dispatched from the international airport due to damage at the domestic terminal, the management of the air traffic was excellent and his flight out was on time as scheduled.

He said despite the stress of the situation the New Zealanders were positive and polite.\



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