A Swinton-based trekker has described the drama of her narrow escape from the Nepal earthquake, which has now claimed the lives of over 8,000 people.
Emma Robinson, 34, was embarking on the trip of a lifetime, a 17,590ft trek to Everest Base Camp, when she was caught up in the chaos.
She was with a group of 14 people who reached base camp on 23 April, just two days before the earthquake struck in western Nepal, causing catastrophic avalanches in the mountain range.
Emma said: “We didn’t realise what it was at first, my first thought was ‘I’m going to fall over’, the ground started moving and my legs were going all over the place.
“Then the guides shouted at us all to get down because they knew it was an earthquake and the mountain started shaking.
“You could hear the boulders crashing through the trees on the other side of the mountain. I don’t know how nothing came down on our side, but thankfully we were totally unharmed.”
After the quake hit, the group faced a treacherous descent down the mountain to safety.
“There were cracks in the path all the way down and we had to climb over boulders and we could see a lot of the houses had been damaged.
“But even then we didn’t realise how bad it was, it was only when we made it back to the guest house and realised it was all over the news.
“I turned my phone on and I had all these messages and missed calls from my friends and family.
“The phone lines were all down and you couldn’t always get a signal, but I managed to speak to my dad and let my family know I was safe, they were just so relieved.”
Unable to catch their scheduled flight to Kathmandu, Emma and the group were stranded in Namche for three days – the site where a second earthquake measuring 7.3 on the Richter Scale struck this week.
Emma added: “There were aftershocks every day and it was quite scary if you were inside when they hit because there was always a danger that the roof would cave in.”
The group were forced to charter a helicopter in order to get to Lukla, a town in easter Nepal, where they were able to fly out.
Upon hearing of Emma’s narrow escape, her colleagues at Salix Homes in Salford, where she works as a project officer, launched a fundraiser for the Nepal Earthquake Appeal.
Employees at the social housing provider held a bake sale, dress down day and meditation session, collectively raising £260 for the disaster appeal.
A grateful Emma said: “We were very, very lucky to get away unharmed as just two days earlier we‘d been at base camp where a lot of people were killed and injured.
“The news of the second earthquake in Namche this week really brings it home as that’s where we were only days ago.
“It is a beautiful country in the depths of a major catastrophe so I’d like to thank all my colleagues at Salix Homes for doing their bit to raise money for the cause.”