The mother of a Lancashire backpacker caught up in the devastating earthquake in Nepal has spoken of her two days of agony waiting for news.
Sam Stalker, 25, from Kirkham, and Jonathan Blott, from Preston, were trekking in the Langtang Valley, close to the centre of the earthquake which killed thousands when it struck on Saturday.
Sam’s mum Freda had a harrowing weekend before receiving a text message yesterday to say that the pair were safe but stranded in the devastated valley, waiting for helicopters to come and pick them up.
Freda, 55, said: “I was so relieved to hear from him because I didn’t know what had happened.
“I’ve been in complete meltdown, just not knowing where he’s been and whether he’s OK.
“It’s a mother’s worst nightmare not knowing where your children are and what difficulties they might be having.”
I’ve been in complete meltdown, just not knowing where he’s been and whether he’s OK.Freda Stalker
A hiking trip with his girlfriend nearly turned into disaster for Sam Stalker.
The Kirkham lad had decided to go hiking in the Langtang Valley, Nepal, with his girlfriend Dhwani and pal Jonathan Blott, from Kirkham, and his girlfriend.
The four found themselves close to the epicentre of the devastating earthquake that has killed more than 3,000 people.
Sam’s mum Freda Stalker, who works in the boarding house at Kirkham grammar School, said: “Jon’s mum called asking if we knew where they were. Since then we have just been sitting here waiting to hear. It has been a waiting game so just to know they are okay is such a relief.”
After an agonising weekend, Sam texted yesterday morning to say that they were safe.
Freda said: “They’re now trying to do all they can with the embassies to get them home safely. Until he’s back here I won’t stop worrying.
“From what I’ve seen on the TV and on the internet, it looks like chaos out there.”
Sam has been abroad for the past two years after travelling to Mumbai, India, in June 2013, and was due to return home on June 3.
He last returned to the UK a year ago to renew his visa before heading back out to Aminabad, India, where he was working as an architect.
After completing a project two weeks ago, he embarked on a trip.
Also caught up in the terror was student Nicholas Roxburgh, who was in Kathmandu studying for his Phd in rural water system management.
The 26-year-old, from Ormskirk, gave an eyewitness account of the terror.
He said: “The building in Kathmandu around me began to sway as I sat at my desk working. At first it was gentle, but then it grew more violent. I ran to the bathroom and threw myself on the floor. Dust and plaster from the ceiling began to fall around me as the quake continued.
“Keeping down on the floor I got myself under the desk, where I stayed until the movement stopped.
“I immediately grabbed my bag and headed for an exit.
“I made my way through dust and debris to the front door and out onto the street.
“Initially there was an eerie calm before people began to cautiously emerge, dust filling the streets.
“Just a few doors down from the building where I had been staying, a hospital stood – relatively undamaged, its staff out on the street fearing collapse. Within minutes injured people began to arrive, in cars, taxis, on foot, being carried by others.
“It was immediately clear there had been casualties. The lifeless bodies of two young children were carried in, while countless others arrived with a variety of horrific injuries – many having been hurt by falling masonry, others having been pulled from collapsed buildings.”
Mike Russell, 42, from St Annes, was among those confirmed safe.
Nigel Russell said he had grave fears for his sibling’s safety after hearing nothing 36 hours after the incident, but said his family was given the news they had prayed for on Monday morning.