Video: Quake hit Whitewash Head

Whitewash Head is collapsing into the sea

Last updated 11:15 20/06/2011

A brave videographer filmed stomach churning footage of quake damaged Whitewash Head.

The video has been posted on YouTube, with viewers thanking him for the video but commenting on the risk he took to capture the footage.

Last Monday in the same area, the commitment to his work of another man, Mark Yetton, was almost his undoing

Immediately after the magnitude-5.6 quake, the engineering geologist headed for the top of Whitewash Head in Scarborough to examine tension cracks on the cliff's edge.

He found part of the popular clifftop walkway barely hanging on, with rifts half a metre wide.

He was measuring the cracks when the 6.3 shake hit at 2.20pm. "All of a sudden I got knocked over and scrambled away, " he said.

He recoiled as the land he had been standing on fell away before him into the sea far below. Up to 30 metres of the cliff collapsed.

"It was that nightmare situation where the faster you ran, the slower you went, " said Yetton, who downplayed his close shave.

Scarborough is sandwiched between the two epicentres, the first to the east in Taylor's Mistake and the second west in Sumner.

Northwood resident Trevor Thomas was three-quarters of the way up Whitewash Head when the quake struck on Monday, and described the experience as the "most terrifying day of my life".

Thomas and his wife, Carol, were in Sumner during the magnitude-5.6 aftershock, and then decided to go for a walk on Whitewash Head. "It was such a lovely day. I thought there was no way we'd get another earthquake."

He was taking a photo less than two metres from the cliff edge when the second quake hit. "The ground started rippling like somebody was shaking a mat . . . we could hear the cliffs breaking up and see the dust and grit as it started to rise up."

- The Press

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