Belfast Telegraph

Belfast couple safe after earthquake hits Indonesian island killing 14

By Stewart Robson

A Newtownabbey man has spoken of the horror at being caught up in an Indonesian earthquake that killed at least 14 people.

Ryan McMullan (24) is currently on holiday on the island of Lombok, where a 6.4 magnitude quake destroyed its main village.

The death toll includes a tourist, while more than 160 people were injured.

Ryan, a special needs school assistant, had been travelling across south-east Asia with his girlfriend Magdalena when they were woken in the early hours of Sunday.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Ryan said he thought that Magdalena was joking around by shaking the bed but quickly realised the situation was much more serious.

"We were in Gili Trawangan and had accommodation booked in another place, but had to cancel all of that because of the waves," he said.

"All the fast boats were cancelled so we had to get a slow boat from Bali to Lombok, which must have taken us about four hours to get from one port to the other."

The keen traveller, who has been to many countries across Europe and also visited Australia, said that travel was chaotic and involved a long wait.

He added: "It was maybe three-and-a-half hours when the captain of the boat told us we would have to stop for 14 hours due to the bad weather.

"The boat couldn't dock.

"So we were on a boat, that I can really only describe as like a Stena Line vessel, for over 14 hours."

After finally making it to their villa on the island, the couple went to bed thinking no more about the journey.

But the situation was about to turn, as Ryan explained.

"I woke up at around 6.45am and actually thought it was Magdalena shaking the bed.

"So I woke her up and asked her what she was doing. She then woke up and was asking me what I was on about. I looked in the corner where a wardrobe was standing, just around where the air-con appliance is.

"The wardrobe started shaking so I bounced out of bed to see if anything else was shaking outside the villa or if the swimming pool had cracked.

"I had no idea what it was because, of course, we don't have them at home.

"I actually thought it might be a dream at first.

"Shortly after, I walked into the living room area to see if everything was okay, which is when it stopped."

Ryan said they could feel the effects of the quake for over five minutes, which is when his fears began to heighten.

"I went back to bed and was lying there thinking that a tsunami could be on the way," he added.

Ryan and Magdalena escaped injury in the earthquake but said they were horrified to discover the devastation across the popular holiday island.

"Thankfully, where we were did not suffer lots of damage.

"However, we later saw that three people were dead then that ended up rising to 14 across Lombok," he added.

"Seeing schools destroyed as well was just horrific.

"Everything was wrecked."

The couple are due to fly home tomorrow.

The National Disaster Management Agency said nearly 600 mountain climbers are trapped on Mount Rinjani, an active volcano in the northern region of the island.

Belfast Telegraph

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