Pike River Mining Disaster

Pike River Mining Disaster

NickyFor a few says now we’ve been following the events at the Pike River Mine where a methane explosion had left 29 men trapped underground in precarious conditions. We turned on the TV to see the Prime Minister John Key announcing a day of mourning and knew something terrible had happened. There’d been a second massive explosion in the mine. Up until then lots of people had still held out hope that some of the men might be alive… A really awful turn of events. And terrible news for such a small close knit community. Horrific, and extremely sad.

Christchurch Earthquake

Christchurch Earthquake on TV

NickyWe’re both completely fine. We felt it though. Such a bizarre sensation. We’re 80 miles away, and so luckily there’s no damage here in Hanmer Springs. Initially I wrote this description when I imagined it was only a very small local event. I had no idea we were feeling the edge of the huge quake in Christchurch.

I was outside on the decking in the motel writing for the blog. I thought I felt someone stomping on the decking and wobbling my screen. Pissed off I grumpily looked up to see no one there. The doors behind me were rattling, and my chair was shaking a bit. Confused I thought for an instant that Cookie was mucking about wobbling the chair to scare me then I realised the chair was against the motel wall and the whole thing was wobbling. I stood up and the floor was going side to side a bit like the sensation of being on a boat. 

Cookie popped his head out, “is this a..?” “Yeh! Earthquake!”

Felt bloody weird!! :) We’re ok though. All fine here. You get occasional very very subtle wobbles 2 or 3 times and hour. Feels a bit like someone turning over in bed next to you. But nothin bad. 

We were in the supermarket when one went off. Looking down the aisle at the shelving units as they tilted alternately back and forth was very odd! It makes you think you’re seeing things. I was trying to grab a can of olives at the time and they slipped out of my grip. It sounds more dramatic than it was though. It was extremely subtle here. Just a strange experience.

We turned the tv on and saw the live footage of the aftershocks that brought more of the cathedral down., and it started to sink in what was actually happening. Very distressed people recounting how they’d just seen facades of numerous buildings collapse in front of them on top of screaming people outside in the street. Terrible, horrific stories. It’s hard to imagine that this was all happening live and just down the road.

We’re hoping to hear about some hiker friends, Michael and Elna, who were in the mountains in the last section of trail. They were going back to Christchurch, probably yesterday (22nd). Hoping they were running late and were still in the mountains.

Also – a very lovely young couple who gave us a ride from the end of the trail in Boyle village, who were driving back from Nelson to Christchurch after a friends wedding. Watching the news, i just hope they are alright. There are such awful images on the tv… The complete devastation. But also stories of heroism, hope, and survival. The resilience of the people here is incredible.

I’m watching right now as they are still finding people alive in multistory buildings that have been totally and utterly flattened. It’s pretty astounding. Hopefully as communications are restored many more people listed as missing will be able to be reunited with their families.

So glad we are several days behind our original schedule, as we’d planned to visit Christchurch these last few days. So thankful I am such a slow-coach hiker!