Quake hits during honeymoon
The ‘‘perfect wedding’’ turned into a nightmare for a couple on their honeymoon when the deadly magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck North Canterbury.
Former Cromwell man Kurt Sapwell and pregnant wife Kailah Sapwell were on the second storey of the historic seaside Kaikoura Boutique Hotel when the quake struck last week.
They had driven from Cromwell following their wedding on November 8, and were set to leave for their hometown of Perth on November 17.
‘‘It was f***** man. You wouldn’t believe it. I woke up with the bed moving around the room [and] it wasn’t on wheels. It got worse and we thought it wasn’t going to stop. I thought the hotel was going to come down to be honest. I’ve never seen anything shake like this before. It was unreal,’’ Kurt said.
The pair rushed to the balcony and prepared to ‘‘jump off’’ before the shaking stopped and the couple turned their attention to the ocean.
‘‘The sea just disappeared. It had just gone. There were just rocks ... everywhere. I thought ‘f***, we have to go now’.’’
Among the shattered windows, fallen pictures and overturned furniture, the couple packed what gear they could salvage, got in their rental car and headed for high ground.
They hunkered down in their car near Kaikoura Hospital to wait it out.
‘‘There was just earthquakes non-stop all night ... [but] we’re good.’’
Speaking from Kaikoura, Sapwell said there were thousands of people like he and Kailah just ‘‘waiting it out’’.
‘‘We’re stuck. There’s no sewerage, there’s no water, no power. It’s just been a waiting game.’’
People were generally in good spirits and locals had been great providing food, water and gas for cooking, he said.
He had lined up for petrol each morning along with hundreds of others looking to drive out of the carnage. But Civil Defence had ‘‘cut it off’’ to save it.
Most people he had bumped into had ‘‘a few scrapes’’ but weren’t seriously injured.
At the time Sapwell said: ‘‘I think we are just going to sit and ride it out. I’ve got a few beers in the chilly bin.’’
However, the pair managed to get on the HMNZS Canterbury and arrived back in Christchurch on November 17.
Kurt Sapwell and wife Kailah in Kaikoura before the magnitude 7.8 earthquake.