Story: Historic earthquakes



One of my co-workers had a bird of paradise plant bloom in a milk bottle on top of the filing cabinet. I remember watching it slide across the cabinet, and then being aware of a banging coming from the direction of the lift. After the shaking subsided, we heard cries and shouts of help. The lift was in motion when the earthquake struck, and had swung in the shaft, and the banging was the sound of it hitting the sides. It was stuck between floors, and we had to force the doors open. We then managed to pull out the people, two or three I think, who had been trapped inside. No-one was hurt, although they were ‘shook up’. I seem to remember being told that the lift engine had been shaken off its mountings, and was moving toward the shaft, dragged by the weight of the cable and the lift car. The talk over morning tea the next day was that if the quake had gone on longer, the engine would probably have toppled down the shaft!

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Historic earthquakes - Personal stories of earthquakes since 1942', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 July 2024)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 28 Mar 2011, updated 1 Nov 2017