Call of nature: Toilet saves man from Christchurch earthquake crush


A British office worker escaped being crushed to death in the New Zealand earthquake when he stopped to go to the toilet.

Call of nature: Toilet saves man from Christchurch earthquake crush

Lucky Martin Riley, 50, was on his way back to his office in Christchurch after lunch when he nipped into a nearby building for a sneaky wee.

Incredibly, he was “mid-flow” when the quake struck the city and completely demolished the building where he worked.

He said: “If I hadn’t stopped off for a wee I would have been at my desk when the quake struck.

“Going to the toilet saved my life. When I looked at the building after the quake it was like a bomb site.”

Martin, who moved from Coventry to New Zealand in 2006 with his wife Noreen, worked as a financial advisor in the Cashel Mall district in the city.

On February 22 an earthquake measuring 6.3 on the Richter Scale. The current death toll stands at 161 – including four Brits – but is expected to rise to 240.

Martin added: “This was New Zealand’s darkest day. We’ve had some significant tremors since and each one sends a cold shiver down your spine.

“Whether we stay in Christchurch remains to be seen. We love the city, the friends we’ve made here and the area so I suspect we will stay.

“But it will be hard in the years to come as businesses will go bust, people will move out – we may suffer high unemployment.

“Our fear is what happens if we suffer the same again? Where will we be next time? Can we avoid being in high rise office blocks? Will we get our confidence back?”


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