Haunted by the horror

A YANGEBUP woman in Nepal at the time the magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck says she was left broken by the experience and is unlikely to return to the country.

Teegan Wright (21) was having lunch in Phakding following an 11-day charity trek when the earthquake caught everyone completely off guard and prompted a mad rush to get outside.

The next week was a mix of lost hope and freezing nights, something she says she is not sure she has the strength to return to.

�I admit 100 per cent I struggled mentally. I was a mess,� she said.

�People have asked if I would go back and help out for a bit of closure but I know I�m not the type of person who has the strength mentally, so I�m better off staying away.�

Ms Wright was with six fellow Everest Base Camp trekkers and a tour guide when the earthquake hit.

�Because the buildings aren�t on great foundations and we were in one that was on stilts, I thought it was something wrong with the building until I looked out the window and there was a landslide on the mountain across the valley,� she said.

�Then everyone was yelling in Nepalese and we were out � everyone just ran.

�There were parts of buildings falling off around us and parts of the mountain coming down. We were pretty lucky not to be injured.�

Once outside the damage was clear, with rubble from fallen buildings strewn across the floor.

�You walked down the road and there�s just people standing outside of houses that have crumbled,� Ms Wright said.

�A lot of the houses were not on good foundations at all. A lot of them were gone.�

The team decided to head for Lukla and attempt to contact relatives in Australia to let them know they were ok. That was despite not knowing all the details themselves.

�There was a bit of desperation after the earthquake,� Ms Wright said.

�Fellow trekker Mitchell Pedavoli was like �we have to get out of here, we have to keep moving�, so our group got our stuff together and ran for about three hours to Lukla.�

Once there, they were able to establish themselves at a teahouse, where they spent five long nights waiting for a ticket out.

The pair � who met only a few days before the trek� became inseparable as freezing temperatures and aftershocks throughout the night meant sleep was impossible.

�That first night I don�t think we slept at all,� Mr Pedavoli said.

�The hardest part is you never know when an aftershock was going to happen.�

Ms Wright said the weather and downtime waiting for a flight was mentally taxing.

�Lukla was a hard place to be mentally,� she said.

�The airport was the portal everyone was using to bring the injured from Everest base camp.

�You see what�s coming off the helicopters � the dead, sick and injured � and I very much wish I did not see that. It�s in front of you. It just pops up.�

Because the pair had access to food and shelter, they were not considered a priority and struggled to get home.

After five nights in Lukla they admitted hope was fading, but their tour guide eventually was able to get them on to a plane out.

�We didn�t even know where it was going, we just wanted to get out of Lukla,� Mr Pedavoli said.

The pair were welcomed into Perth on May 2, a week after the initial quake.

After a few days at home, Ms Wright said it was unlikelyshe would go back.

�At the end of the day it�s not a place I want to go back to but the Nepalese people still need help,� she said.

Mr Pedavoli had lined up work in a town flattened by the earthquake. He said he would head home to Sydney to assess his options.