Emily Phillips tells story of survival.
Emily Phillips tells story of survival.

Indonesian earthquake: Hornsby couple tell of destruction

EMILY Phillips and her partner Peter Yeates were relaxing in their Indonesian villa, on the island of Gili Trawangan, the moment the ground started to shake.

The Cowan and Cherrybrook residents ran from their accommodation as the roof caved in and doors fell off their hinges - escaping to the hotel lobby, they discovered the restaurant had been reduced to a pile of rubble.

The 23-year-old media student and her 25-year-old partner spoke with the Advocate about the harrowing night that she feared could have been her last.

"People started screaming and running and squeezing through a tiny back door at the back of the hotel," Ms Phillip's said. "They were saying 'tsunami, tsunami' as we all ran in the dark towards the mountain.

"We climbed higher and higher up as the ground continued to shake with after shocks."

 

Images of the destruction of the Indonesian earthquake by journalism student and Berowra resident Emily Phillips.
Images of the destruction of the Indonesian earthquake by journalism student and Berowra resident Emily Phillips.

Ms Phillip and Mr Yeates slept on top of the mountain with locals and tourists huddled around small fires for the next ten hours, she said people wept and prayed as they held each other, fearing further destruction would follow.

 

Emily Phillips said injured people lay on the beach the following day.
Emily Phillips said injured people lay on the beach the following day.

"Others were calling out desperately trying to find people they'd been separated from," she said. "When we looked online and saw the tsunami warning it was incredibly scary."

"I only had a bikini and thin play suit on and Peter only had a pair of gym shorts and no shirt."

The couple said they came back down the mountain at first light to see the destruction first hand.

"There were wounded people on the beach and crumbled businesses, restaurants and resorts," she said. "I honestly don't know what I would have done without Peter there with me caring for me and calming me down when I honestly thought I might die.

 

Businesses and homes lay destroyed on the tiny Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan. Images: Emily Phillips.
Businesses and homes lay destroyed on the tiny Indonesian island of Gili Trawangan. Images: Emily Phillips.

 

Images of the destruction of the Indonesian earthquake by journalism student and Berowra resident Emily Phillips.
Images of the destruction of the Indonesian earthquake by journalism student and Berowra resident Emily Phillips.

 

"Having to run from an earthquake and then spend an entire night on a dark mountain in the cold was a terrifying experience - especially when it was so chaotic and no announcements of any kind in English."

Ms Phillips, who had been in Indonesia for a week before the earthquake struck, said locals on the mountain kept them warm a shared water.

There was a group of locals we were with at the top of the mountain who helped us stay warm and gave us water.

"The entire experience was very harrowing, particularly being up on the mountain with the thousands of others, locals and tourists sitting in the dark fearing for the tsunami more and more each time the earth shook," she said.

A rise death total of 142 people has been recorded at this stage, with thousands injured following the Lombok earthquake. It is the second deadline earthquake to rock Indonesia this week.

Images of the destruction of the Indonesian earthquake by journalism student and Berowra resident Emily Phillips.
Images of the destruction of the Indonesian earthquake by journalism student and Berowra resident Emily Phillips.

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