Eagle lands on no one... luckily

'All the mums were screaming'

Last updated 05:00 21/01/2014
Wellington Airport
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ

CRASH LANDING: This eagle fell in the Wellington Airport food court on Monday during the earthquake.

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People were forced to dive for cover when a giant eagle sculpture weighing about a tonne came crashing down on the Wellington Airport food court during yesterday's 6.2 magnitude earthquake.

Victoria University student Lauren Stone, 19, was sitting with a friend underneath the eagle when the quake struck shortly before 4pm yesterday.

"It started shaking heaps and rattling so we jumped under the table," Ms Stone said. "The eagle fell on top of us."

Its wing knocked the table over, giving Ms Stone a blow on the head.

"We ran away. All the mums were screaming, it was quite panicked," she said.

Natalie Julian, a staff member at the airport's Donut King store, said she was about 20 metres away when the sculpture came toppling down.

"I caught a glimpse of my workmates looking distressed. I saw the eagle swaying then heard a horrendous noise. It was like the roof was coming down."

Airport staff did a great job of helping people in the aftermath, she said. "I'm a bit shaken, but I'm okay."

The eagle sculpture, of Gwaihir the Windlord, which has a 15-metre wingspan, was unveiled in December to promote the latest Hobbit movie, The Desolation of Smaug.

Wellington Airport spokesman Greg Thomas said it was fortunate nobody was hurt. An engineering inspection would be carried out on the fallen sculpture with the help of Weta staff, he added.

CCTV footage of the incident would also be reviewed. A second eagle and a sculpture of Gollum suspended above the food court have been cordoned off.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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