Nelson man: Turkey earthquake a "surreal" experience

The earthwuake has claimed the lives of two people on the Greek island of Kos.
The earthwuake has claimed the lives of two people on the Greek island of Kos.

A Nelson man has described how images of recent tragedies flashed through his mind as he was caught in the recent earthquake that struck Turkey and Greece, killing two people.

Kristian Stevens (48) is spending a few weeks in Turkey visiting a close friend, and was awoken when the the Magnitude 6.7 earthquake - which has killed two people on the nearby Greek island of Kos and injured over 200 others - struck.

Nelson resident Kristian Stevens was in Turkey at the time of the earthquake.

Nelson resident Kristian Stevens was in Turkey at the time of the earthquake.

Staying in the town of Mavişehir on Turkey's western Aegean coast, barely 65 miles away from the earthquake's epicentre, the former John Fisher and Thomas More RC High School student Kristian described the "surreal" experience.

"I was just settling down to sleep at 1:30am when a gentle shake started, almost like a vibrating bed, which then grew in intensity and the whole building began to shake," he said. "Bottles on the side in the bedroom toppled off and I was swayed around. It was a very surreal experience."

The strongest quake to hit the area in over a decade according to local media in Turkey, the tremors caused widespread panic in a host of popular tourist resorts, including Kos - a favourite amongst British holidaymakers - which welcomed over 26,000 visitors in April of this year alone.

"There were British families with children panicking as the water in pools was sloshing over the sides during one of the aftershocks, causing more alarm from already-concerned people," Kristian continued. "It was the first time I ever experienced an earthquake, and I was not sure what to expect.

"Images of recent tragedies flashed through my mind as it continued to shake the building, but it was a great relief when it finally subsided," Kristian explained. "The buildings here are built to withstand certain levels of tremor, but this was quite a big one so all sorts rushes through you mind at the time. It was a very unnerving experience."

Born in Skipton, Kristian was brought up in Earby and has lived in Nelson since 2013, but frequents Mavişehir to spend time with his friend, Sue Cooper, an expat who lives in Turkey.

"There has been damage to some properties in the surrounding areas with pipes bursting and walls cracking but thankfully the newer building regulations on this complex mean we were more protected," Kristian said.

"Fortunately we were not too close so we avoided any severe problems unlike the poor people on Kos."