Clitheroe woman: ‘I thought I was going to die in New Zealand earthquake’

A CLITHEROE woman has spoken of the horrifying moment she thought she was going to die in the powerful earthquake which hit the New Zealand city of Christchurch.

Kylie Parsons, who is currently travelling with her friend Erika Schneider (both 23), witnessed first hand the 6.3-magnitude quake which devastated the city.

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In an e-mail to her mother, Linda Dixon, who runs the Tots to Teens children’s shop in Castle Street, Kylie re-lived the ordeal.

The former pupil of Ribblesdale High School Technology College, wrote: “Tuesday started like any other day. We were sitting around the kitchen table chatting about random things. Usually, on a day like that Erika and I would have definitely gone into town and grab lunch or gone to the library. It had been raining all morning, and being tired and knowing I would be working late the next night, I told Erika I would stay in the flat.

“I had dinner and then decided to make lemon bars. I made the crust for my lemon bars and popped it into the oven. I was walking over to the bin and that is when I heard a ‘dum’ and got pushed into the work surface.

“The intensity increased dramatically and knowing I was upstairs and it would be safer to stay in the doorway than try to run down the stairs outside, I clung on. My friends Erika and Anne were screaming and ran behind me, but then continued to run past me and headed for the stairs. The quake was throwing us about, but I reached out with one arm, the other holding onto the door frame, and grabbed Anne’s arm as her and Erika were about to be thrown down the stairs.

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“I just tried to press up against the door as much as possible and could see our fridge cracking and all the contents falling out and all the plates and glasses shooting off the shelves.

“It never seemed to stop and at one point I thought ‘I’m actually going to die’. It lasted a few seconds more and then slowly calmed down and stopped.

“There was glass everywhere and you couldn’t see an inch of carpet in our room, as all of our stuff had been pushed out of our cupboards onto the floor.

“Outside we saw lots of people on the streets. The traffic lights were off and there were people crying. I looked across and saw the building next to the supermarket that had been fenced off from the last quake had collapsed and the roof looked like a slide. The top of the street parallel to us had just crumbled and a man told us the body of a woman had been pulled out of the rubble.

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“The sky then turned black as smoke rose from burning buildings in the city and we started to see pictures of the cathedral from a guest who had been there.

“Power and water was off and we just sat round as it got darker and darker.

“That night we had such bad aftershocks all night and every single time one came I shot up and was ready to run.”

She added: “I feel so sad as quite a few buildings were badly damaged when we arrived (most of them have completely collapsed now), but we just accepted it as we didn’t experience it. But the city is devastated now and a lot of people are homeless. We are just lucky to be alive.”

Mother-of-four Linda said: “I was in a state of panic when I couldn’t get through to her because all the phone lines were down, but I am so glad she and Erika are okay. It is such a relief.”

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