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Rocks flew over our heads... none of us had even a scratch; MY MIRACLE ESCAPE FROM CHINA QUAKE N.Wales tourist's holiday horror.

Byline: By ERYL CRUMP

A WOMAN caught up in the China earthquake has spoken of the moment a panda-watching trip turned to terror as rocks and boulders crashed around her.

Judy Ling Wong, from Llanberis, was among a group of 19 British holidaymakers on the trip in the Wolong nature reserve when the earthquake struck on Monday.

The 58-year-old, director of the Black Environment Network (BEN), said the quake seemed to last three or four minutes.

"We were covered in dust and leaves. There was grit in our mouths. We didn't know where to run because there were rocks everywhere," she said.

"We looked at each other and tried to comfort each other though we didn't know the others very well.

"It was a miracle that none of us was hurt. The rocks flew right over our heads. And none of us had even a scratch."

Judy, who was awarded the CBE for services to heritage last year, added: "After having paid the obligatory donation for a photo op with the baby panda cubs, our group was waiting on a further snapshot option with the adult pandas - quite literally, just standing around for the big one to come. Then, the big one came all right.

"Boulders and rocks were flying overhead and 30 metre pines were tumbling over and snapping like twigs, but those trees kept the big ones off us as we scrambled for the exit."

The next two days were spent huddled in the coach. "The locals kept us as comfortable as possible throughout the wait. They were great.

"When the choppers came they gave us no warning and only five minutes to pack a few things - no room for any erylcrump@dailypost.co.uk big bags - and off we went. Flying over the area on the way to Chengdu, we could see the road we had come in on was completely impassable," said Judy.

Staff at BEN's head office in Llanberis were relieved Judy was safe and well.

Yvette Jones said: "We knew she was in China on holiday but not exactly sure where she was or whether she was caught up in the earthquake. Obviously she was and Judy's been through an ordeal. We are very relieved she's come through unscathed."

She said staff have sent Judy a number of text messages but have not received any replies.

"We assume the phone networks are down. We're looking forward to seeing her back home."

The group were flown out of the Wolong nature reserve by the Chinese authorities, the Foreign Office said

Last night they were in Chengdu, the provincial capital, awaiting a flight home.

A British embassy spokesman in Beijing said: "The group have all been evacuated to Chengdu, where they are safe and well. The British ambassador has visited members of the group and they are being looked after by consulate officials.

"The UK is grateful for the help and assistance of the Chinese authorities in this matter."

Pupils at Ysgol Llanllechid, Bethesda have raised pounds 500 for the disaster appeal. The school has been affected by the quake as a visit from its twin school in Chongqing has been postponed. To donate call Andrew Lui on 01248 362189

erylcrump@dailypost.co.uk

CAPTION(S):

A small car is crushed by a rock after a landslide in Sichuan province. Inset, (top) soldiers wearing masks in Yingxiu; (below) a man is rescued from rubble 97 hours after the earthquake; Safe. . . Judy Ling Wong 58, from Llanberis
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:May 17, 2008
Words:580
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