Scared Residents Flee Christchurch Quake
December 23, 2011 by staff
The first tremor, a magnitude 5.8, struck at 1.58pm. It was followed by a magnitude-5.3 at 2.06pm and a magnitude-6.0 at 3.18pm.
Lance Burke, who works at Hanafins Photo and Video at Westfield Riccarton, said people “totally panicked” when the first quake hit.
“It chucked people about a bit. People totally panicked and then ran out of the mall really.”
Burke said the mall was “absolutely full of people”.
“It couldn’t have happened on a worse day,” he said.
Twitter user Sam Law said he was standing in a homewares shop when the quake struck.
Glasses and plates broke and people screamed and ran, he said.
A visitor to the city said Westfield Riccarton was being evacuated. Terrified shoppers stumbled and fell as they fled the from mall and items tumbled off shelves.
Pania Burgess, 39, was in Pak ‘n Save Riccarton supermarket when the first quake hit.
”A woman near me was getting hysterical. A lot of lighting came down near us. It was terrifying really.”
Burgess said petrified shoppers ”barged” for the exits after the quake.
Anthony Surynt was working in a Sydenham electrical workshop when the first quake struck.
He said it was the biggest one he had felt since June 13, when a magnitude-6.3 shook the city.
He could see the Hotel Grand Chancellor in the central business district, which was being demolished, and said it was still standing.
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