Passengers cheat death at New Zealand airport after earthquake topples giant sculpture promoting The Hobbit
Scores of passengers miraculously avoided death or injury today when a powerful earthquake rocked New Zealand and sent a two-ton eagle sculpture promoting The Hobbit movie crashing down at Wellington airport.
The 6.3 magniture earthquake rocked the centre of the country, damanging buildings and sending boulders rolling down hills up and down the country between Auckland in the north and Dunedin on the tip of the south island.
The shudder was felt throughout most of the country but there were no immediate reports of serious injury or death.
Officials described the earthquake, 99 miles north-east of Wellington at a depth of 31 miles, as ‘severe’.
Walls fell and huge rocks rolled across roads during the one-minute-long earthquake – and authorities warned that a number of aftershocks were likely to follow with more damage expected.
Most of the damage is believed to be in the Palmerston North area, north east of Wellington.
Fires broke out, telephone lines and power poles came down and alarm bells sounding in numerous towns.