Survives a shaky start
‘‘These were random strangers that under any other circumstances I never would have crossed paths with, but I’m now so connected to them because we were with each other in the most vulnerable state you could possibly be in. It was almost closure to see them all again and talk about it with people who really do understand.’’
The reunion was organised after Sharplin’s survival story, and ongoing battle with nerve damage as a result of the accident, was reported last month. Sharplin, then 19, was driving from Kaiko¯ura to Blenheim.
As the four strangers united, hugs were exchanged, followed by an endless stream of chatter over lunch at the local pub as they recalled the night.
Sharplin hopped in White’s van and they carried on up the coast until they came to aman standing on the road, madly waving a torch. Foskett had stopped the pair moments before they drove into a gap where the earth had opened up. He had finished his shift 10 minutes before and was on his way home to Picton.
‘‘I could not hold onto the car door and keep my feet on the ground. And that’s when the ground started opening up,’’ he recalled.
Foskett was on the first passenger train to Kaiko¯ura since the line was restored. At its opening, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern asked him, ‘‘Were you ever scared?"
‘‘No, we were too busy to be scared,’’ he replied. ‘‘Everybody found a job to do and they did it. We got ourselves organised.’’
This reunion was more important to him than meeting the prime minister.
Thom was also signalled by Foskett on the road. He credits Foskett for saving his life.
At the reunion, Thom firmly shook Foskett’s hand. ‘‘I’ll take this time to thank you very much, otherwise I wouldn’t be here. I think about it quite a lot.’’