SA actress recalls Bali quake: 'The possibility of a tsunami freaked me out'
South African actress Odelle de Wet has told News24 from Bali that the possibility of a tsunami following a Southeast Asian earthquake "freaked me out a little bit".
De Wet, who has appeared in series such as Isidingo and Binnelanders, said: "It was like the whole earth went into a shock. It started slowly and then it got worse. The walls, the ceiling, the buildings… everything started shaking. It was very intense."
De Wet is staying in Canggu on the coast of Bali for a month to attend an advanced yoga course.
On Sunday, nearby tourist island Lombok was hit by an earthquake with a magnitude of 6.9, killing at least 98 people and injuring hundreds more, according to Reuters.
Bali is roughly 200km from Lombok and experienced severe tremors, and a tsunami warning was briefly issued.
De Wet said the tremors "felt like it lasted several minutes".
"It felt unreal, as though your body and brain don’t know how to react.
"I was confused at first, but then I realised what was happening."
De Wet says she somehow kept her cool and went outside.
"The water in the swimming pool was splashing around like at the Valley of the Waves at Sun City.
"People were being evacuated from buildings and restaurants and flooding the streets.
"The possibility of a tsunami freaked me out, because I was alone and I didn’t really know what to do."
De Wet SMSed a local contact who put her mind at ease.
People leaving in droves
Other South Africans also shared their experiences with News24.
Alf Strijdom - who now lives in Australia, but who originally hails from Newcastle in KwaZulu-Natal - says there was general panic, with people and children crying.
“I was having supper at the Mercure in Nusa Dua when the place just started shaking.”
According to Strijdom, patrons were evacuated "within seconds" by personnel, who informed them of the earthquake. Strijdom says staff acted quickly and most people managed to stay calm.
"But friends of mine staying in another hotel told me people were panicking and making so much noise that they couldn’t hear announcements on the PA system.
"We experienced at least five aftershocks."
Strijdom told News24 that tourists were leaving that island in droves.
"I am on a waiting list [for a flight], but many people left within an hour of the quake."
'I felt like I was having a heart attack'
Talya Pretorius, originally from Pretoria, has lived in Bali since September last year, where she manages an online business.
Pretorius and her mom, who is visiting, were "having a chilled Sunday evening" when the quake struck.
"First I felt a shake, and I thought it was just another 'lite' earthquake that I have experienced many times in the past eight months. I asked my mom in a joking way if she is feeling it and she turned pale – she could not really get words out when I told her it was an earthquake.
"I realised it was not a dream when the earth underneath my feet started moving, my gate [was] shaking and the palm trees in the distance waving like in a hurricane – just without any wind. My dog went [crazy].
"I felt like I was having a heart attack," said Pretorius. "I was waiting for the earth to split into two – as that’s what we see on the movies."
Pretorius told News24 that people in the neighbourhood were running into the street, shouting "evacuate!".
"[After the quake,] we were obviously in massive shock and did not really know what to expect or what to do. I mean, do you book a flight? Where do you run to? With a natural disaster like this you just want to crawl in a ball and wait for it to go away.
"We obviously could not sleep and I woke up many times feeling unbalanced and nervous. Every time you hear any noise, you think its happening again. I never want to have that feeling again…"
Pretorius says they have prepared a bag with water, first aid kits and their passports.
"You never know how bad these things can get."
According to Reuters, no foreigners were killed in the quake.
The department of international relations and co-operation could not be immediately reached for comment.
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