A Waterford mother has spoken of her relief after her daughter fled to safety from the tsunami catalysed by last Saturday’s massive earthquake in Chile.
Dunmore Road resident Christine Maddock told The Munster Express that daughter Sarah escaped from a holiday park (where she was working) 40 kilometres north of Concepción, the city nearest the 8.8 quake’s epicentre.
“Sarah told us that the whole area was shaking around her,” said her mother. “She was with her boyfriend at the time, whose family own the campsite, and he knew straight away that they had to get out of there.”
Christine added: “The earthquake struck while it was still dark, there were about 20 people staying on the campsite – it’s near the end of the tourist season there – so Sarah and her boyfriend had to get them all out of there.
“They drove away from the site, but a bridge on the road out had collapsed, and there were boulders all over the road, so they had no option but to head uphill. As they drove up the hill – it was a clear night and there was a full moon, Sarah noticed that the tide had gone out, which is what happens in the build-up to a tsunami.”
From the top of the hill, Sarah watched the water rushing over the campsite, taking with it most of the site’s chalets.
Tons of debris was dumped onto the shore, while virtually everything Sarah had brought with her for her six-month stay in South America was lost to the ocean.
“They probably had the best view of the tsunami in the whole country by the sound of things,” said Christine, who had an anxious wait to hear from Sarah.
“My husband had heard about the earthquake early Saturday morning on radio, and then turned on Sky News to find out more,” she said. “I knew by the look on his face that there was something wrong. He looked at Google Maps online and knew that Sarah was very close to the epicentre of the quake.”
See The Munster Express newspaper for full story.