PMB couple feel lucky to be alive after quake

2015-05-04 06:23
Safely back home, Pietermaritzburg travelers Elsje Bezuidenhout and Shane Matthews. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

Safely back home, Pietermaritzburg travelers Elsje Bezuidenhout and Shane Matthews. PHOTO: Ian Carbutt

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

THE Pietermaritzburg couple who were in Nepal when a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck two weeks ago said they were lucky to have escaped injury or death.

Advocates Shane Matthews and Elsje Bezuidenhout said they were ­hiking up a steep incline just outside the Nepali village Lukla when disaster struck.

“We were half an hour outside Lukla when everything just started shaking,” said Bezuidenhout.

“At first, I though I was busy having a stroke, I thought there was something wrong with me but then the next minute our guide shouted ‘earthquake!’.”

The couple said it was a terrifying experience and if they had been just 100 metres below, they would have been struck by large boulders dislodged by the earthquake.

“We were very lucky,” said Matthews.

“Just before the earthquake hit, we saw an old man pass us, carrying about 100 kg of wooden beams on his back. He died just a few metres behind us.”

The couple and their group trekked into Lukla where they heard stories of fellow tourists and locals “running for their lives”.

Without access to the Internet, telephones or television, the couple said they had no idea about the scale of the devastation the earthquake had caused.

“It took us five days to get out of Lukla. As we drove into Kathmandu, we just saw absolute chaos,” said Matthews.

“People were camped outside on the streets. People had their beds on the pavements. No one was inside.”

The couple said they drove into Kathmandu town and were shocked at what they saw.

“What happened to us all fades to insignificance when you see what happened there. When we drove into Kathmandu only then did we realise the extent of the damage,” said Matthews.

Bezuidenhout described a modern skyscraper in the city centre that had been turned into the “leaning tower of Pisa” by the earthquake.

“Some of the villages we had visited before the earthquake were completely flattened. When we heard this, we realised the magnitude of the situation,” said Bezuidenhout.

She said the earthquake had even cracked the Lukla Airport’s runway but all that was on her mind was getting back to her family.

She said they finally left Nepal on Thursday night and were overwhelmed with relief and joy to see their family when they landed on Saturday morning.

“We are going to have a family braai this afternoon [yesterday]. It’s been a stressful time not only for us, but our family too and since we got back we have been on the phone non-stop with family and friends who are all happy to have us home,” said Bezuidenhout

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
PARTNER CONTENT
INFOGRAPHIC: New thinking required for retirement

Everything we believe about retirement is fast becoming outdated.

PARTNER CONTENT
WATCH: How education can change a life

A university education gives students the chance to create a better future for themselves, their families and to opportunity achieve their dreams.

/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.