Survived the Christchurch Earthquake!

Just a quick word to let everyone know that Karen and I (and our friends Mark and Dana) are safe and well in the aftermath of the earthquake. Karen and I were downtown and saw the famous downtown cathedral steeple collapse only 50 meters (150 feet) away! Fortunately, we had just sat down to review some paperwork before going into the tall building with the immigration office to turn in some visa extension paperwork. It was a terrifying few moments. The buildings were swaying, people were screaming and hugging each other, glass was shattering, and buildings began crumbling everywhere. What we saw later was even worse. The scariest thing is that we both thought about going to visit the cathedral after we completed the paperwork!

[UPDATE – PHOTOS ADDED and read our full story of the experience.]

View full-sized slideshow with photo descriptions

Many buildings we saw, as we tried to carefully walk out of the city without getting near tall buildings, were just piles of rubble. Multi-story buildings were just crumbled. Every building had signs of damage – mostly glass and facades that had fallen. Water mains were busted. Sewage flowing through the streets. People were everywhere – it happened at 1 PM just after lunch on a crowded weekday. We saw a very injured man dragged out of rubble. We saw other injured people being attended to by others. We saw groups of people working to remove people from cars crushed by building materials.

There were still many tremors and at least one very strong aftershock.

We managed to get back to the apartment and found Mark and Dana in the nearby park sitting away from the trees. A few hours later we took a chance and went into the building and got our few remaining belongings out so we could leave Christchurch.

I will describe more details later and upload a bunch of photos we took of the cathedral collapse, and the city as we left.

Again – we are safe. Thank God! We are leaving town now.

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17 Responses to Survived the Christchurch Earthquake!

  1. Sue says:

    So glad that you are both safe – can’t imagine how scary it must have been for you, especially being in the center of the city when it happened. Norm & Coleen and their family are all safe thankfully.

  2. Volker says:

    Glad you were not hurt!

    It is kind of ironic that the may be most dangerous event of your expedition happened to you on solid ground, not on open water. Losing the ground below the feet while seeing the environment collapse must be terrifying.

    Take care

    • Frank Taylor says:

      Volker: you are definitely right. It is very ironic. We were sitting on a park bench when the big one happened. Although it was shaking and vibrating, the scary part was watching the buildings swaying and crumbling and the loud sounds of screaming, breaking glass, and tumbling building parts.

  3. Keir Clarke says:

    Glad to hear you are all safe! Your photos show how lucky you have been. Stay safe Frank.

  4. Gerardo Paz says:

    Thanks you are both safe!.. FYI Frank, Jason Mill it´s ok too…

    • Frank Taylor says:

      Gerardo, thank you. I had been planning to look up Jason. I hope we have an opportunity to go back and visit him later. But, at this point I don’t know whether it will be safe to go back.

  5. Mano Marks says:

    Frank, so glad y’all are safe. It’s such a tragedy what happened there. I’m glad you were not among those hurt.

    Stay safe,

  6. Johnathon S says:

    Glad you guys are safe. What an amazing and tragic story. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  7. Robin Ziegler says:

    You are so lucky… Elaine and I are glad you and everyone else with you are OK. The GEC moderators are also happy you are leaving. Now read about the Americans and the pirates… and think about not stretching your luck further.

    Your Friend

  8. Jannie says:

    I saw this morning on the news ’bout quake and the first thing I did was going
    on your site (been following you for some time) AND THE SERVER TIMED OUT!!!! needless to say I was a wreck for your part. Happy that you are still OK, but all those people who are not!!! Prayers will go up from me to GOD asking his intervention for those people.
    (ps my english aren’t great sorry)


  9. FSTIII (Dad) says:

    Very glad to hear that you are both safe. Kimberly and her son, Blue, are, as well. They are on the other island. Have thoroughly enjoyed your journal entries in New Zealand, as well as the excellent scenery photography. See any trout? Sorry to see your Christchurch visit end as it did. Love to both.

  10. Mark Korey says:

    Frank/Karen – Glad to hear you are ok. Amazing that you were right in the middle of it all. Thanks for sharing your 1st hand account. Hoping rest of the adventure yields smooth sailing.

  11. Norm says:

    Good to hear that you are both safe and well.. I can agree with you – it was a terrible event to go through. All our immediate family are safe.

    Norm & Coleen – Christchurch, New Zealand

  12. Mats says:

    Good to hear you are ok. Let me know if you have problems finding somewhere to stay (I don’t know where you have moored your boat, is it in Lyttleton?), we have a spare bedroom and thankfully both water and power.

  13. Frank Taylor says:

    Thanks to all of you for thinking of us. We are now well away from Christchurch at Lake Tekapo starting our planned sightseeing tour.

    @Mats: Thank you for your kind offer. We are fine. Our boat is way up north at Whangarei, so it is safe. I’m glad to hear you still have a dwelling with working water and power. Our best wishes that things get better for you there.

  14. Tim Barnett says:

    I’m glad that you’re safe.
    I’m from NZ and currently in Poland… I feel so powerless here.

  15. Jason Mill says:

    hi frank .. great to hear you are safe .. i was in the square immediately after the shake so we may have passed in the mayhem .. we are safe also after some crazy days .. we are still without power and water but are sharing resources and are well stocked for a long slow recovery .. the generator donated from southland is cranking away outside so we have internet for short periods .. we are helping sett up local power/wifi/food and coffee spots to keep residents sane .. thankyou for your wishes here and on other forums .. best Jason and family.

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