‘I just jumped under my desk and then just held on for grim life’

Christopher Bristow
Christopher Bristow

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A FORMER Fareham man has spoken of his terror as he was caught up in the New Zealand earthquake.

Christopher Bristow was trudging through his flooded house in Christchurch as his father David, of The Drive, Fareham, frantically tried to reach him by telephone.

The death toll in the stricken city is 75 and rising. Hundreds are still trapped.

Christopher, 36, a banking executive, said the dream home he and his 32-year-old girlfriend Megan Andrews moved into six months ago was devastated by the impact of the earthquake.

It was hit by liquefaction – caused when the earthquake dislodged hundreds of tons of loose soil, sand and water beneath their home.

The water pressure caused it to erupt four times through the house. The building is so unstable it may have to be bulldozed.

Christopher told how he was at work when the building began to shake.

‘I was in my office on the second floor when the quake hit. There was no build up, we haven’t had any aftershocks since Boxing Day so a lot of people had come to the conclusion it was all over.

‘I was sitting at my desk at work and the whole building shook from side to side. It was so violent it was tossing filing cabinets across the room. I just jumped under my desk and held on for grim life.

‘People were screaming and crying – it was absolutely terrifying. Everyone clung to each other in terror.’

Mr Bristow managed to get out of the building and walk home where there was more devastation in store for him.

‘The streets were absolutely gridlocked with people in their cars trying to get home to their families, pick their children up from school,’ said Mr Bristow.

‘Luckily, I could walk home and when I got there I could see water pouring down the driveway.

‘I got in and there was liquefaction. My house is filled with this sandy liquid, the doors are all bowed and I had to kick the door in to get in.

‘I’m completely exhausted now.

‘I can honestly say it was been the worst day of my life. Unfortunately my girlfriend works in the city, right where all the major devastation happened. It’s awful, the place is like a war zone.

‘She saw buildings pancake (collapse) and people covered in blood being pulled out of the wreckage. She is covered in bruises but she’s okay.’

Dad David Bristow, 63, said: ‘I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. At this stage, we’re just thankful that Christopher is OK.’