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Canterbury couple's holiday hell on earthquake hit Indonesian island of Lombok

By Gerry Warren

A Canterbury farmer and his wife have described how they fled an Indonesian island hotel in terror when an earthquake struck.

Simon and Jacqui Mount had only arrived on Lombok the previous day when the quake hit on Sunday, killing more than 100 people and causing widespread damage.

The couple, who run a fruit farm at Stourmouth, had been enjoying one of the most idyllic holiday destinations in the world but are now just grateful to have survived the ordeal.

Simon and Jacqui Mount who escaped the Lombok earthquake
Simon and Jacqui Mount who escaped the Lombok earthquake

"Without doubt it was the most frightening experience of our lives and one we won't forget in a hurry," said Simon.

He and Jacqui were in their small hotel on the west side of the island when the 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck without warning.

"It was about 7.45pm when all of a sudden there was a huge noise and the building started to shake.

"Things were falling off the walls and building and straight away I knew what it was," said Simon.

The site of the earthquake
The site of the earthquake

He and other guests were swiftly evacuated from the building and taken out to the pool area near the beach.

Simon said: "Looking back at the hotel, there were cracks all over the building and tiles crashing off the roof.

"It must have lasted about two minutes which seemed like an age and was just so very disorientating.

"It is the most strange sensation because you seem to lose sense of everything around you."

The wrecked staircase at the hotel where the Mounts were staying
The wrecked staircase at the hotel where the Mounts were staying

But the drama was far from over because then, a tsunami warning went out. The couple were among hundreds of tourists who were quickly led to much higher ground.

Simon said: "Given the previous Asian tsunami, that was ever more worrying, although thankfully it never materialised.

"But we spent the night sleeping out in the open on a track while the tremors continued."

The epicentre of the quake was in the north of the island where the most damage and loss of life occurred.

"We really feel for those who have lost lives and for the local people who now have to try and rebuild their homes and businesses," he said.

"Without doubt it was the most frightening experience of our lives..." - Simon Mount

"Obviously, they rely on tourism and it's devastating for them. But the hotel staff were just so cool and calm and have been very helpful."

The couple have two daughters, Claire and Hannah. It was Hannah who recommended the destination to her parents after a recent visit to Bali.

"Being farmers, we don't get away too often and decided to go because it's such a beautiful place," Simon said. "But there were obviously some pretty frantic phonecalls from back home when the earthquake happened and I'm not sure we would chance coming to this area again."

Simon and Jacqui have now been relocated by their travel company to Bali to continue their holiday.

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