Kendyll Mitchell says surviving the collapse of the CTV building with two of her children was one of “lots of little miracles” the day of the Christchurch earthquake.
Mitchell, her daughter Dita, who was a baby at the time, and son Jett survived despite being on the fifth floor of the CTV building.
“It’s a bit scary that I fell five stories when it collapsed,” Dita said.
Jett, who was almost four when the quake struck, remembers being stuck under the rubble.
The Mitchell family spoke to John Campbell on Breakfast in Christchurch this morning ahead of the 10th anniversary memorial service this afternoon.
On 22 February, 2011, 185 people died following the earthquake that struck at 12.51pm, centred 6.7km south-east of central Christchurch.
“Today was really about bringing the kids up to be a part of this because they were so little, it’s not really something we like to remember all the time so 10 years is a big milestone, so they wanted to be here.”
“We’re the lucky ones, we’re very appreciative to everyone who helped that day and made us still be a family.”
“We’re doing really well as a family, we’ve got two more children, Hayden and I got married, the kids are amazing.”
Mitchell’s husband biked across the city to the CTV building not knowing if his family were dead.
“The infamous photo where I am being carried and the two children, the man holding me is actually Mark and he was Hayden’s friend, he managed to somehow ring Hayden and let him know that we were okay and we were being taken to triage.”
“Hayden seing the building but knew we weren’t in, there were a lot of little miracles that day, heaps of them.”
Mitchell was grateful to not see the things Hayden had seen on his ride across Christchurch.
“He went down High St, he saw some pretty horrific things that I didn’t thankfully,” she said.
“He thought we’d be all over because he knew we were at the appointment at the time of the quake, it was pretty hard on him emotionally.”
In the hours after being pulled from the rubble, the Mitchell family effectively moved to Timaru, where the memories of the quake made them look at life positively.
“Everything just fell into place once we got out, I was discharged from hospital when I shouldn’t have been, happy to be, got taken to Timaru,” she said.
“Our car was the only car that survived on the street, they had to move it to get a crane in so we were allowed to get our car out, we were able to leave the city and we pretty much moved to Timaru that night and it’s worked out very well.”
“Definitely look at it in a positive aspect, life could definitely be worse, we do remember all the ones who didn’t make it out of the building that day or the earthquake.”
“Hayden especially is very grateful to have his family.”