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Medway mum caught up in Lombok earthquake tells of her ordeal as death toll rises

By Nicola Jordan

A mum-of-two caught up in the earthquake horror in Indonesia which has so far claimed the lives of nearly 350 people, is still waiting for a flight home.

Janet Wadddington and her friend Vicky Marchant , holed up in a hotel next to the airport spoke this morning after yet another strong quake hit the holiday island of Lombok.

The two women from Borstal, near Rochester fled to safety up a hill fearing a tsunami after the three strong tremors hit the resort island this week.

The 6.9-magnitude quake has left nearly 350 dead. It triggered at least 230 aftershocks, which are expected to continue for the next two weeks.

The death toll following the latest quake, which registered 6.2, now brings the death to to 347 - and rising.

Mrs Waddington,57, said: " Compared to the big one where everybody was screaming, panicking and some smothered in blood, this time everyone was relatively calm.We were by the pool away from buildings which were collapsing, so we just stayed there.

"There are far more Army and rescue services on the island now. We just want to get out of here.

People on the beach trying to escape the island. Picture: Vicky Marchant
People on the beach trying to escape the island. Picture: Vicky Marchant

Earlier this week, Mrs Waddington spoke to our sister paper, the Medway Messenger, about her harrowing ordeal after the second tremor.

She said: “We held hands and started to crawl but then were told to get off the beach because of a tsunami.

“So we made our way to the road but then could hear buildings crashing down and were told to go back on the beach.

Vicky Marchant and Janet Waddington were caught up in earthquake in Indonesia
Vicky Marchant and Janet Waddington were caught up in earthquake in Indonesia

“People were screaming and smothered in blood. It was pitch dark and everyone was panicking.

“We did not know which way to turn.”

The women along with thousands of tourists and locals fled up a hill where they spent the night fearing a lethal tidal wave which could claim yet more lives.

The 57-year-old said: “There were children crying for their mums and yelling out prayers.

Pictures taken by Vicky Marchant of the devastation left by the earthquake
Pictures taken by Vicky Marchant of the devastation left by the earthquake

“A young local lad led us to safety to the highest point, avoiding electricity masts which could collapse. He got us and blankets and food.”

The following morning they crawled over rubble to their apartment, which had been destroyed, and grabbed their passports and a few belongings strewn over the floor.

They were told to make their way to the port on the island of Gili Trawangan where an evacuation had been launched.

Fights broke out on the quayside as thousands tried to cram onto the boats, and in the mayhem the friends became separated.

The mum-of-two, of Brambletree Crescent, said: “It was chaos. I was pushed forward and Vicky was pushed backwards.

Pictures taken by Vicky Marchant of the devastation left by the earthquake
Pictures taken by Vicky Marchant of the devastation left by the earthquake

"I waited on a neighbouring island. Thankfully her friend arrived on another ferry.”

They are hoping to get a flight to Bali and get a plane back to the UK in the early hours of Saturday morning, their time.

Thankfully, they have now been put up in a hotel and on Tuesday were looking forward to their first night’s sleep in several days.

Mrs Waddington, a family liaison officer at a Maidstone school, has managed to get in touch with her family including, daughter Amy, 34, of Walderslade, and son Sam, 31, of Borstal.

"My daughter keeps contacting me, saying come home home and that makes me very emotional.I am sure I will have flashbacks about what has happened for some time to come."

“I feel very emotional, especially when I think of them. I have had the worst few days of my life. I just want to get home and give everyone a big hug.”

Pictures taken by Vicky Marchant of the devastation left by the earthquake
Pictures taken by Vicky Marchant of the devastation left by the earthquake

Mrs Marchant, 43, of Sidney Road, Rochester, and Mrs Waddington set off on their holiday on Wednesday, July 23 from Hong Kong and had visited Bali before heading to the islands near Lombok.

Posting on Facebook to reassure friends back home, Mrs Waddington said: “I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words that kept us strong and your offers of support.

“Our lovely Balinese young man named T who took us to safety, got us food, blankets and checked on us throughout the night. If only I knew his full name - he was a true angel.

“The Balinese Bonny and Clyde who stopped to give us a lift to the airport when they saw my distressed wave - there are some truly kind people in this world.

“However, home is where the heart is and I can’t wait to be back there.”

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