A Preston author on tour in New Zealand has described the “crazy” scenes after getting caught up in a devastating earthquake which killed two people.
Kiwi Dean O’Brien, who lives in Tulketh Brow, was jumped out of bed at 12am (11am GMT) as the tremor shook the east coast of the country.
The 7.5-magnitude quake struck north of Christchurch on the south island but the aftershocks still badly affected Dean in Masterton on the north island.
“It was really scary when it happened,” the 38-year-old said. “I was asleep and heard screams coming from the other rooms and people panicking.
“It was going crazy and there were cracks going down the wall. It was like we were in a dolls house and someone had picked us up and was rocking us side to side.”
Residents in the country’s capital city Wellington had to be evacuated from their homes after the quake triggered tsunami warnings, power shortages and cuts in water supply.
Dean was staying in the region the earthquake struck and says if it had been a few days earlier he might not have been so lucky.
“It was right by where I was,” he said. “People there have been really badly affected so it could have been so much worse for me if the timing had been a little different.”
And Dean, who writes under the name Deano Yipadee, says not being able to contact his wife and two daughters, who were staying in Wellington, was the worst part.
He said: “My daughters are 14 months and five-years-old and because the phone lines went down I couldn’t make sure they were all okay.
“It was only for about 10 minutes but it seems so much longer in that situation. I messaged all my friends too and I was lucky that no-one I know was hurt because some didn’t make it.
“I always miss your family when I’m touring but I’m even more anxious now to get back to them and I can’t wait until Friday when we’re all back together.”