Local survivor of New Zealand quake
WESTTOWN TWP., Pa.- February 25, 2011 (WPVI) -- A Bucks County man is home celebrating his daughter's birthday Friday night after nearly being a victim of the New Zealand earthquake.
Nathan Coates is a software engineer who spent two weeks in Christchurch New Zealand.
He had just finished teaching a class on Tuesday afternoon when the lights went out and the room shook.
"Being inside, there were racks of computers around us, there were tables, there were light fixtures above usoverhead. All were shaking, and I wasn't sure what was going to come down and what wasn't," Coates explained.
A native of California, Coates has endured numerous earthquakes including the major 1989 quake in the San Francisco Bay area.
The Christchurch earthquake however, he says was the most frightening.
"There were many, mant aftershocks and it became more and more unnerving because you didn't know when they were going to stop," said Coates.
Coates was staying at the Crown Plaza, and was not allowed back to his 11th floor room. His belongings are still there, but it doesn't matter to him.
"The worst thing was an elderly gentleman with some wounds to his legs being loaded into an ambulance when we were down town," said Coates.
A colleague he's just met brought Coates to his house and then drove him four hours to an airport. 52 hours after the quake, Nathan Coates was home.
He says his strongest motivation was getting back in time for his daughter Parker's 4th birthday on Sunday.
"I am very thankful to him, and I'd only known him for a week, to go to such lengths to help me when his house was a wreck. I helped him fix some windows and stuff like that, but there is a lot more to be done," said Coates.
Coates had to pick up some new presents to replace those left behind in Christchurch, but no doubt the best gift to his family is to have him home safe and sound.
pennsylvania, earthquake, new zealand, local/state
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