Families caught in earthquake horror

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TWO families from South Yorkshire have spoken of their horror after being caught up in the devastating New Zealand earthquake.

Sandy and Marion McLean fled damaged buildings with their daughter and 15-month-old grandson.

Meanwhile, worried mum Susan Jackson searched for news of her sons after the quake, which claimed more than 150 lives in Christchurch.

Sandy and Marion, from Green Lane, Scawthorpe, Doncaster, were in New Zealand visiting their daughter Sharon King and little grandson William.

Sharon and husband David moved to New Zealand from Wheatley five years ago.

The family were in a restaurant when the quake struck. They walked four miles through devastated streets to Sharon’s home because her car was trapped in a multi-storey car park.

Marion, aged 61, said: “You didn’t know what was happening, but afterwards, when you think about it, you realise we are all lucky to be alive.”

Sandy, aged 63, said people had run from the cafe screaming: “Get out of the building.”

They went outside where nothing could fall on them and realised that buildings had been falling down all over the city.

At Sharon’s home, the walls were cracked and there was no power or water.

Marion said Sharon was coping: “I think she would rather be here but it’s not that easy to leave the house and everything.”

Meanwhile, Susan, originally from Mexborough, was working at Christchurch Airport when the disaster struck.

She received a phone call from her children’s school saying sons Joseph, aged 10, and James, six, were safe, but felt she had to see them for herself for reassurance.

Susan moved to Christchurch four years ago with partner Matthew Hoole. Their home is still standing, six miles out of the city centre, but is damaged.

They have also lost water and power and are currently staying with friends.

Susan’s mum Diane, who still lives in Mexborough, said she and husband Cyril faced a 12-hour wait for news their daughter and grandsons were safe.

Diane said: “It’s been so difficult for them. People have had to pull together. It’s amazing how they rise above it all and soldier on.

“I don’t know how they’ll feel about living there after this but it’s too soon to make decisions. They can’t just up and leave - Matt started a new job this week.”

Diane and Cyril had planned to fly to Christchurch to visit Susan this week, but have cancelled their trip because of the disaster.