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.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.