SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – In a phone interview Monday, Sandy resident Debi Brockbank described the moment the earthquake hit.
“It just was shocking to realize, OK, I’m in Nepal, and I’m in the middle of a huge earthquake, this is a huge earthquake,” Debi Brockbank said in a phone interview.
Debi and her husband, Ken, were visiting Kathmandu on vacation. They were inside the Pashupatinath Temple when the ground began to shake.
“We had just walked around the corner from the main part of the temple and heard what I thought was an explosion, we were walking next to a big tall white building, shaking rolling, it almost felt like, ‘oh my gosh, I have low blood sugar, and I’m going to pass out,’ that kind of thing, then I realized everyone around me was screaming and running,” Debi Brockbank said.
Debi Brockbank said she saw a house with people inside topple to the ground. She, her husband and others ran to an empty parking lot. Moments later, another large aftershock.
“One of the light posts was swaying like it was going to fall on us, it was quite long and big, so you know, more screaming and freaking out,” Debi Brockbank said.
With the help of a guide, the Brockbanks were able to get transportation to Nepal’s airport, and fly to India, where they are now waiting to return to the U.S.
Owner of the downtown Salt Lake City restaurant The Himilayan, Surya Bastakoti, has family living in Nepal. He said the village he's from - Gokyo - was flattened.
“We are like 200 houses, and only four houses are standing and the rest are destroyed,” Bastakoti said.
Gokyo is about a three-hour drive from the epicenter of the quake. Some of Bastakoti's family members were injured.
“My brother's wife had a fractured leg and her daughter had a broken arm,” he said.
Bastakoti said some of his relatives are still missing and with power lines down, it's difficult to communicate.
“We don't know how many people are missing, how many people died, how many people need rescuing, nobody knows,” he said.
The Apa Sherpa Foundation, which frequently travels to Nepal for relief work, is accepting donations on their website at http://apasherpafoundation.org/. The Kathmandu restaurant in Salt Lake City, has also set up a GoFund me page at gofundme.com/sx7epg. Employees at The Himalayan restaurant will be hosting a fundraiser at the restaurant Saturday night.