August 22 2014, updated 1:27pm

Cyclists dodge rocky death

CHARLEY MANN
Last updated 13:49 23/02/2011
bike1
ANDRE CHAPPELL

Three cyclists caught on Evans Pass in Lyttelton during the earthquake yesterday dodged boulders the size of busses as they ran for their lives.

bike2
ANDRE CHAPPELL
Boulders the size of busses nearly struck three cyclists on Evans Pass road.
BIKE3
ANDRE CHAPPELL
Three cyclists caught on Evans Pass in Lyttelton during the earthquake yesterday dodged boulders the size of busses as they ran for their lives

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Three cyclists caught on Evans Pass in Lyttelton during the earthquake yesterday dodged boulders the size of busses as they ran for their lives, and a jogger may have been killed.

Dave Curtis, along with Andre Chappell and another friend, were ''terrified'' as rocks ranging from the size of busses to ovens crashed down around them.

They said they suspected a jogger, who had been running close by, may have been killed by falling boulders.

Curtis said the group heard ''a sound like a sonic boom reverberating off the crater above'' before they were blown three metres towards the edge of the cliff.

"It was terrifying'' Curtis said.

''They were the size of cars and busses and we could see them coming, Andre dove over the wire fence and I dodged them on the road.

''Another fifty yards [45m] further on and we couldn't have survived.''

The cyclists had been training for the National Triathalon Championships, to be held in Wellington in March and said they, and the jogger, were the only people on Evans Pass at the time of the eartquake.

Chappell said the group made their way towards the city following the initial quake, and made it as far as an abandoned petrol tanker before the first aftershock struck, which threw them into the path of boulders careering down the cliff face above them.

''We had to push ourselves against the side of the cliff and they [boulders] were just falling over our heads,'' Chappell said.

"When it was finished we ran and jumped round the boulders and got back to Sumner.''

Curtis said the petrol tanker, which had been abandoned, was blocked by a large boulder at its rear, and the road ahead, towards the city centre, was impassable unless on foot.

''We really dodged a bullet,'' he said.

The group said they had not decided if they would still compete in the triathalon.

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- The Press

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