Honeymoon from hell: Pregnant new wife and husband caught up in quake
The "perfect wedding" turned into a nightmare for young couple on their honeymoon when the deadly magnitude 7.5 earthquake struck North Canterbury.
Former Cromwell couple Kurt Sapwell and pregnant wife Kailah Sapwell were on the second storey of the historic seaside Kaikoura Boutique Hotel when the quake struck about 12.05am on Monday.
They had driven from Cromwell following their wedding on November 8 and were set to leave for their hometown of Perth on Wednesday.
"It was f***** man. You wouldn't believe it. I woke up with the bed moving around the room [and] it wasn't on wheels. It got worse and we thought it wasn't going to stop. I thought the hotel was going to come down to be honest. I've never seen anything shake like this before. It was unreal," Kurt Sapwell said.
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The pair rushed to the balcony and prepared to "jump off" before the shaking stopped and the couple turned their attention to the ocean.
"The sea just disappeared. It had just gone. There were just rocks ... everywhere. I thought 'f***, we have to go now'."
Among the shattered windows, fallen pictures and overturned furniture, the couple packed what gear they could salvage, got in their rental car and headed for high ground.
Along the way they photographed the devastation before hunkering down in their car near Kaikoura Hospital to wait it out.
"There was just earthquakes non-stop all night ... [but] we're good."
Speaking from Kaikoura on Tuesday, Sapwell said there were thousands of people like he and Kailah just "waiting it out".
"We're stuck. There's no sewerage, there's no water, no power. It's just been a waiting game."
Despite "everyone ... sort of walking around but with no direction", people were generally in good spirits and Kaikoura locals had been great providing food, water and gas for cooking, Sapwell said.
He had lined up for petrol each morning along with hundreds of others looking to drive out of the carnage. Civil Defence had "cut it off" on Tuesday morning to save it, he said.
Most people he had bumped into had "a few scrapes" but weren't seriously injured.
Asked about a timeframe for getting out, Sapwell said he did not know.
"Apparently they are moving 20 people out at a time [by helicopter]. I think we are just going to sit and ride it out. I've got a few beers in the chilly bin."
Three-months pregnant Kailah "wouldn't mind a shower" though, he said.