Woman fled for her life from falling cliff

"I looked at my son and screamed at him to run."

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 05:00 07/06/2014
Lynzie Moseling
LAIRD HARPER

SHEER TERROR: Hawera’s Lynzie Moseling at the site of the Waihi Beach landslide that almost claimed her life.

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Lynzie Moseling ran for her life as a massive slice of crumbling coastal cliff came crashing down toward her.

The Hawera woman, along with her 16-year-old son Cory Oldfield, were enjoying a peaceful stroll along Waihi Beach when the wall of rock and sodden mud stopped them dead in their tracks on Wednesday.

"We were looking at shells and we both looked up at the same time because there was a rumble," she said. "We both saw the whole top of the cliff just slide.

"I looked at my son and screamed at him to run.

"I have not run that fast in a very, very long time."

Moseling said it felt like the whole cliff was chasing them.

"The noise was horrendous, it was just like being in a movie.

"I didn't know how much of the cliff was going to come down so we just kept running."

Finally feeling like they were far enough away the pair took stock.

"My son doesn't know how close he was to getting killed that day - but I do.

"I didn't sleep that night because if I hadn't left a note at home no one would have known where we were."

Moseling now has a simple message for people walking near those cliffs.

"Stay as far away as possible."

South Taranaki District Council properties and facilities manager John Sargeant said the landslide was a timely reminder the west coast cliffs were prone to collapse.

"People need to ensure that they stay away from the cliff face at all times," he said.

"This is particularly true for children hunting for fossils and shells."

Sargeant said because of the dynamic nature of the coastline, erosion was a natural occurrence often causing many tonnes of rock and mud to fall onto the beach without warning.

"The dangers of cliff erosion are signposted at Waihi and Ohawe as well as along areas where the coast is more prone to erosion such as Opunake.

"Where cliff falls do occur it is council policy to let nature do the clean-up work where high tides and currents will eventually wash the debris away."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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