A 7.8 magnitude earthquake has leveled parts of Nepal. The death toll has passed 1,800. Homes are toppled as are temples and historic buildings. In the midst of all this chaos there are stories of survival, some of them coming from Utahns.
“I was in downtown in a restaurant in the center of the city and all of sudden shaking occurred, violent shaking,” said Ryan Erickson, who witnessed the earthquake first-hand.
“It’s like out of an apocalyptic movie, there’s rubble everywhere,” he said.
Several images emerging from the disaster. Images of first responders digging through rubble. Using shovels, bulldozers, and their hands to sift through the disaster.
“It was just so powerful, the road was like bending, everything was just – glass was falling, and I was witnessing buildings falling, and a huge water tower fell off a 7 story building and fell right in front of me,” said Erickson.
Ryan was part of a group of five Utah residents who made the trip to climb Mount Everest. He was the last of his group left in the region when the earthquake hit.
“We heard the earthquake triggered an avalanche there today which has killed 8 climbers at base camp, we were just there 8 days ago,” he said.
However, a group from Utah was on the mountain when it struck.
Andrew Riddle’s’ 20-year-old daughter Lexie was in Nepal on Mt. Everest at the time of the quake.
“She was crossing a suspension bridge when it hit so they were at least several feet above the ground crossing a river when it hit,” said Riddle.
Lexie was climbing the mountain with Apa Sherpa, a Utah resident, and the most famous Mount Everest guide in the world.
“They had people in front of them and saw an avalanche come down and hit somebody right in front of her,” he said.
At least 10 people have died from avalanches set off by the earthquake.
Meanwhile, people remain shaken up hours after the initial impact.
“Everyone’s without power, everyone’s sleeping outside tonight cause no one feels safe to sleep anywhere in the city. We had about 15 after shocks all day today,” said Erickson.
Several countries including the United States are sending relief to those affected.
At the moment, hospitals are being over run with patients, airports remain closed and there’s concerns of water and food shortages, but rescue crews continue to dig searching for any signs of life.
Meanwhile Ryan and Andrew are hoping people will pray for the people of Nepal at this time. Both Ryan and Lexie are doing well and their families are anxiously waiting for their safe return home.