– Colombo Street, Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

I was on Colombo Street. I had just left the bus exchange with my partner, Stuart and our friend, Stephen. We were about to cross Colombo to go to Cashel Mall when the earthquake struck. At first I didn’t think much of it until it intensified. My partner grabbed me and wouldn’t let go. I saw Whitcoulls come down and the roads crack. We could smell gas and knew we had to leave. Stephen went looking for his girlfriend and told us to stay where we were. Me and Stuart were in shock the entire time. We saw people crying and hugging. When Stephen came back with her he told us there were people trapped in the Link Centre and that he was going to help get them out.

We went to the link centre and it broke my heart because that was the place where I used to hang out. Stuart decided to help get the trapped people out so I waited with Stephen’s girlfriend, Echius. I saw them and group of other guys pull an elderly lady out of the Link Centre, and then they pulled out another man, but he didn’t look so good. His face was purple and he was all bruised. I heard that he died later of his injuries. After seeing him I didn’t want to be in town any more so we made our way to Latimer Square. We walked past the Grand Chancellor and the CTV building. The CTV building was on fire but we had no idea of the loss of lives that would entail. From Latimer Square myself and Stuart walked to his house in Shirley where his parents were waiting for us. We didn’t sleep that night, nor did we sleep well for the rest of that week.

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