Woman tells of miraculous quake escape

By Amelia Romanos

Despite watching her house crumble around her in this morning's massive earthquake, Christchurch woman Marsha Witehira is today thanking her lucky stars after being pulled from her bed as a brick wall came crashing down on it.

Ms Witehira was asleep at her St Albans home when the 7.1-magnitude quake struck at 4.35am. She was woken by her friend Tama Wharepata who came running into her room and grabbed her.

"He pulled me down the bed by my feet and by the time he'd done that a brick had fallen from the wall right down beside my head," she told NZPA.

"I had just made it under the doorway and then the next minute my house was falling down around me."

Ms Witehira, 30, said it had been just coincidence Mr Wharepata, also 30, had been staying the lounge last night, and that she usually lived alone.

"It's pretty incredible, to look at it now it's mind blowing," she said.

"Had he not been there I wouldn't have survived to speak about it today, that's for sure. It's pretty evident when you look at the house and the bricks are all over the bed."

"I'm so grateful to Tama, my number one hero right now, and a I'll certainly have a story for the rest of my life to tell."

Ms Witehira said the house had continued to crumble today as aftershocks shook the area.

"There's no doubt in my mind that the house will be gone by tonight if this continues."

She said she was not sure where she would be spending the night, and that she was waiting for Civil Defence to speak to her about an evacuation plan.

"If I have to leave the property I have to leave it completely unsecured and this is my life sitting in there. It's just devastating to think I'm walking away from everything completely."

Several other properties on her street had also been destroyed, she said.

"A house two along from mine has experienced exactly the same thing as me, where the home is completely unlivable. It's horrific.

"I guess I just have to count my lucky stars again that we're all safe and alive."

- NZPA

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