Kaikoura earthquake: PM surveys the 'devastation' from the air video

Slip on SH 1 south of Kaikoura.
WESTPAC RESCUE HELICOPTER

Slip on SH 1 south of Kaikoura.

The Prime Minister says the damage to the Kaikoura region is worse than he thought.

Massive slips could be seen as he flew over in a Defence Force NH90.

"It's just utter devastation, I just don't know ... that's months of work," John Key told Gerry Brownlee and pilots.

Damage to roads on the Kaikoura coast.
SGT Sam Shepherd

Damage to roads on the Kaikoura coast.

He hoped there were no cars stuck underneath the heavy rockfall. "It's lucky it was midnight," he said.

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He says it's worse than the Manawatu gorge slips.

New Zealand Defence Force NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE FORCE New Zealand Defence Force STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ ALDEN WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ ANTHONY PHELPS/REUTERS Millie McLean Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter STACY SQUIRES/FAIRFAX NZ ANTHONY PHELPS/REUTERS SUPPLIED Nelson Marlborough Rescue Helicopter ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX MEDIA Iain McGregor IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ ANTHONY PHELPS/REUTERS ANTHONY PHELPS/REUTERS WESTPAC RESCUE HELICOPTER IAIN MCGREGOR/FAIRFAX NZ DEREK FLYNN/FAIRFAX NZ STACY SQUIRES Scott Hammond/Fairfax NZ Derek Flynn/Fairfax NZ Scott Hammond / Fairfax NZ Scott Hammond/Fairfax NZ PAUL EASTON/FAIRFAX NZ CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ. Derek F;ynn JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAXNZ JOHN BISSET/FAIRFAXNZ MONIQUE FORD/FAIRFAX NZ MAARTEN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ KATARINA WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ MONIQUE FORD / Fairfax NZ HAMISH MCNEILLY MAAREN HOLL/FAIRFAX NZ RICHARD BICKNELL @dickbicknell/TWITTER CAMERON BURNELL TOM HUNT KATARINA WILLIAMS/FAIRFAX NZ MAT LEAR/FACEBOOK CAMERON BURNELL/FAIRFAX NZ. Fairfax NZ NICK KINGSTONE Kelsey Thomson/Twitter SAM SACHDEVA Supplied Mark A'Court/Fresh Choice Nelson owner

Photos taken from a NZDF helicopter show massive rockfalls in several areas in the upper South Island.

The major route from Christchurch to Kaikoura is impassable.

The NZDF sent helicopters to survey areas in North Canterbury that were rocked by a massive 7.5 earthquake early on Monday.

Historic Waiau Pub co-owner Lindsay Collins looks over the damage.

Hanmer hospitality workers rushed into the streets following a 6.3 magnitude aftershock at around 1.30pm.

Local residents Chris and Viv Young look at damage caused by an earthquake along State Highway 1 near the town of Ward.

Aftermath of earthquake at a house in Waiau, North Canterbury.

Earthquake road damage State Highway 1.

Historic Waiau Pub co-owner Michelle Beri looks over the damage to her bedroom, grateful that she was not sleeping in it at the time.

A railway line is damaged by an earthquake, near Tirohanga stream south of Blenheim.

Stuart Smith stands in a crack in the road at Tirohunga flat near Kaikoura.

Earthquake road damage State Highway 1.

Precariously dangling shipping containers seen on CentrePort wharf in Wellington.

Major road damage near Mt Lyford.

The Elms homestead near Kaikoura.

Ward resident Bryan Phipps surveys the damage to his Ward home after this mornings earthquake.

Local residents Chris and Viv Young look at damage caused by an earthquake along State Highway 1 near the town of Ward, south of Blenheim.

A truck drives over fractures caused by the earthquake, along a road south of Ward.

Slip near SH1 south of Kaikoura.

A slip near Mt Lyford.

Quake rattled seek shelter at parliament.

Trucks parked up on State Highway 1 north of Ward after this morning's earthquake.

Clean-up at Culverden Four Square after the magnitude 7.5 earthquake.

Building damage on High St, Picton following Monday morning's earthquake.

Damage to Needles Bridge, north of Ward, Marlborough.

Builing damage on Picton's High St.

Damage to SH 1 north of Blenheim. Spring Creek bridge closed.

Wellington's Days Bay Wharf was closed following the earthquake.

Confused central city residents in Wellington headed for Brooklyn fearing a tsunami.

Damage to SH 1, near Ward, an hour north of Kaikoura, following Monday morning's 7.5 quake.

The Timaru town clock stopped after the major earthquake just after midnight.

The Timaru town clock stopped after the major earthquake just after midnight.

Residents of low-lying areas of Wellington city were evacuated after a tsunami warning.

Students are moved from an accommodation in Willis St to Cumberland House across the street, because of water damage.

Wellington residents evacuated from a building in Willis St.

Wellington's ferry terminal damaged in Monday morning earthquake.

Civil defence staff keep people from Dunedin's St Clair beach.

Victoria University of Wellington's Kelburn campus is closed.

Earthquake damage at a Wellington home.

Glasson Cuba St.

Pipes are broken with water leaking throughout a Wellington apartment building.

Broken glass and damages seen at Wakefield St, Wellington.

Dirty tap water from a home in Brooklyn, Wellington.

Quake damage seen in Wellington central.

The bridge at Wellington ferry terminal has collapsed.

Damage to buildings on Wakefield Street, Wellington.

Scene in a Wellington resident's home after a quake hit.

Plenty of people in the capital were woken up by shakes and damages were reported in many parts in the city.

Farmers in Cuba St in Wellington.

Fresh Choice in Nelson

Shattered glass in the stairwell of Wellington's Spark building.

Fresh Choice Nelson

Shattered glasses in one of the buildings in Wellington.

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Key and Brownlee estimated the clean up will run into the hundreds of millions and clearing the debris and blocked roads could take months.

As the chopper surveyed damage over the wider Kaikoura area, further earthquakes hit and dust from rockfalls and slips could be seen.

"That's a goodie", one of the pilots commented as the quake hit.

Stranded tourists park up in Kaikoura
Iain McGregor

Stranded tourists park up in Kaikoura

Dust billowed down the hillside as the chopper circulated. The pilot said he'd never been airborne when a quake had hit before.

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Key asked how big the quake was but the pilot didn't know.

"Not something you see everyday. Better to be above it than below it,"  Key said.

NZN VIDEO

Prime Minister John Key takes off in the Royal New Zealand Air Force helicopter in Wellington to view earthquake damage in the South Island.

As they flew over Key and Brownlee commented on the damage to rail lines and roads.

The doors were opened and the helicopter flew low as Key, Brownlee and Andrew Little surveyed the area.

The crew also ran through what other defence force personnel had been doing through the day. Some had gathered supplies to take in to Kaikoura. A number of NH90s are preparing to take in tonnes of food, water and other supplies tomorrow.

Slip closes State Highway 1 near Kaikoura.
Marlborough Civil Defence

Slip closes State Highway 1 near Kaikoura.

"Its really warm", Key said as they flew over the Clarence Rivermouth. "It's a lot of water running down there."

Parts of the area were clearly impassable and the water was a murky brown.

The doors to the chopper were open as they flew over the hills and the dust was thick in the air.

"It's like a fire almost," Key said.

As he viewed the damage, Little said the mudslides and rockfall were "stunning".

"I can't imagine what it will be like to clear it," he said.

As the plane descended sharply in to Kaikoura bumpy conditions large rockfalls were evident.

"Look at that road down there, it's been hammered," Key said.

A slumped hill could be seen and Brownlee commented "oh hell that's amazing".

They commented to each other and the pilots over the intercom about large slips on roads and the rail line.

Cars could be seen lying on their sides. About 1200 tourists are stranded in Kaikoura. The Government is looking at options to try and help them get out.

 - Stuff

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