'Five seconds later it would have killed her'

2:41 pm on 19 November 2016

While their town has been badly damaged and cut off from the rest of the country, many Kaikoura residents are just glad they and their loved ones managed to survive Monday's quake.

None more so than Gareth McLean.

Gareth McLean saved his baby daughter's life during the earthquake.

Gareth McLean saved his baby daughter's life during the earthquake. Photo: RNZ / Conan Young

When the shaking started he leapt from his bed and grabbed his 9-week-old baby daughter from her cot which was sitting by the wall.

View RNZ's full coverage of the earthquakes here.

Seconds later a mirror fell from the wall on to the cot.

"It was a little bit hair-raising for a little bit there," he said.

"If it had been five seconds later it would have killed her. The house was just shaking that much I couldn't even stand up.

"But it's all right, we got them out so that's the main thing."

Mr McLean's family was one of eight evacuated from their homes yesterday due to the threat of a landslide coming down on top of them from the hill behind.

It remains unclear when they will be allowed to return home.

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