Aussie family sent goodbye texts as quake hit
AN AUSTRALIAN man sent goodbye texts to relatives before bundling up his family and fleeing through pitch-black jungle after Lombok's deadly earthquake.
Evan Burns believed he would die alongside his wife and toddler son when the quake struck yesterday, killing at least 82 people.
It all but destroyed his home, and he fears some of his neighbours perished in the rubble of their houses.
After surviving the jolt and a series of strong aftershocks, Mr Burns, his wife, and his toddler son made a terrifying, 3km dash up a nearby mountain, fearing the quake may have spawned a deadly tsunami.
Nursing a twisted ankle, the family and about 200 others from their village waited in the dark for the danger to pass.
He has since returned home and is struggling to comprehend the scale of the destruction.
"The force was so severe that it threw us out of bed, and the walls immediately started cracking," he told AAP today.
His house is now uninhabitable, having sustained severe structural damage, including a second storey that is caving in. Both windscreens of his car are smashed from falling debris.
He says there is still a sense of panic on the Indonesian island, where he manages a resort in Senggigi.
He estimates 70 per cent of the property's guests have made their way to the airport, desperate to get off the island, but they are stuck there, with flights unable to cope with the mass exodus.
"The panic is quite severe. It's very hard to console the people," he said, adding relief flights must be a priority.
Mr Burns is no stranger to natural disasters, having endured other earthquakes, cyclones and tsunami scares, but yesterday's magnitude-7 quake was the most terrifying of his life.
"We weren't sure we were going to make it out alive," he said.
Mr Burns has contacted Australian consular officials, who have told him help is on the way.
Earlier today, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop said Australian officials were making their way to Lombok to help Aussies caught up in the disaster.
So far there are no reports of dead or injured Australians.