A young woman has told for the first time of the dramatic moment rocks began raining down as the devastating Nepal earthquake struck, killing thousands.
Laura Wood, 25, of Golcar was trekking in the Himalayas on Saturday, April 25, with two friends when they felt the earth shuddering beneath them.
Fortunately they were out in the open and escaped unscathed but were horrified at the pain and suffering experienced by survivors.
The kind-hearted adventurer gave away her warmest clothes and what little money she had left to those affected but said she felt she was “an extra mouth to feed” and so decided to fly home to be with her relieved family.
On Tuesday night she was met by her father Niall, her mother Jane, and younger sister Brooke at Manchester Airport for an emotional reunion.
Laura, who was trekking with a Dutch medical student called Anna and Pedro, a 29-year-old Brazilian doctor, said: “When the earthquake happened I was taking my final steps upon the Annapurna circuit and approaching our final destination for the day, some hot springs at Tatopani, about 1km away.
“I was enjoying the purities of the mountains, gazing at the blue skies.
“Then I thought that my eyes were tricking me when I saw large boulders falling from the cliff face above. I heard crashing noises from behind.
“As the ground started moving from below my feet there was a sudden change of feelings from the adrenaline of being so alive to running for my life.
“We were running for cover from the rocks that were falling just a few metres from us.
“No-one knew at first what was happening. I was like: ‘What was that?’ Then we realised it was an earthquake.”
However, they had no idea of the terrible devastation wrought in Nepal by the earthquake, which has claimed more than 6,000 lives.
It wasn’t until the next morning that they began to discover the full horror of what had occurred.
On the Monday the group reached Pokhara, an area unaffected by the earthquake, and for the first time Laura was able to message her mum, Jane, to reassure her worried family that she was OK.
Laura said: “I hadn’t spoken to my mum for a month so it was good to be able to tell her that I was fine.”
But she says she felt sick that she wasn’t able to help more saying: “This has been a whole new experience.
“I’ve spent days in tears because I’ve felt so helpless and feel so much tragedy. I know, though, that tears don’t help.”
Reluctantly, she decided to fly home. Laura added: “It was so exciting to meet my family. There were a few tears.”
Anyone who wants to donate to the Nepal appeal should visit http://www.karmaflights.org/