Man’s miracle survival during September 2010 earthquake


Simon Robinson believes he is incredibly lucky to survive being hit by a falling chimney in the September 2010 earthquake.

JOHN KIRK-ANDERSON/Stuff

Simon Robinson believes he is incredibly lucky to survive being hit by a falling chimney in the September 2010 earthquake.

Simon Robinson was nearly the only fatality of Canterbury’s September 2010 earthquake when a chimney crashed on to him, smashing bones and nearly ripping his lips off.

Instead, his miracle survival means he has lived to see his children marry and grandchildren born.

He has kept a piece of roof tiling from his old home as a souvenir of his survival.

Stacy Squires/Stuff

He has kept a piece of roof tiling from his old home as a souvenir of his survival.

Robinson was hit by a falling chimney in his Fendalton home at 4.35am on September 4, 2010. The first brick hit him in the head, shattering his eye socket, breaking his jaw and nearly ripping his lips off. The other bricks broke his legs and nearly destroyed his right foot.

He was rushed to hospital and put into an induced coma for four days. He was by far the most badly injured victim.

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Ten years later, he still has ongoing pain from his injuries, but felt “incredibly lucky to be alive’’.

Robinson being interviewed on television about two months after the September 2010 earthquake.

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Robinson being interviewed on television about two months after the September 2010 earthquake.

“I was very close to getting nailed by a chimney. If that first brick had hit me an inch higher, it would have killed me instantly.

“There were so many pieces of luck that fell into place that stopped me from becoming a statistic.

“I have seen all my children married and all my grandchildren born. I would have missed all of those things.”

Robinson’s Fendalton home, seen here in September 2010, where he was hit by a falling chimney in the 2010 earthquake.

Kirk Hargreaves/Stuff

Robinson’s Fendalton home, seen here in September 2010, where he was hit by a falling chimney in the 2010 earthquake.

Since the quakes, Robinson’s Fendalton home has been demolished, and he has sold his high country farm, Round Hill Station.

He now lives with his wife on a lifestyle block in Ohoka, North Canterbury.

“I miss the farm, but I have still got 12.5 acres, and I am still able to get around and run a few ewes and cattle.”

Robinson has ongoing nerve pain in his legs, plates in his shoulders and legs and part of his right foot is missing.

Robinson in 2013, on his Ohoka lifestyle block.

Stacy Squires/Stuff

Robinson in 2013, on his Ohoka lifestyle block.

“I am missing the big toe and the toe next to it on my right foot. There are only three toes and a cavity on that foot.”

Dealing with the injuries is an ongoing battle.

“I try not to walk with a limp. I don’t want people asking me if I am injured. A game of golf or a big day on the block, I may have a limp for a day or two.”

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Robinson doesn’t like to dwell on the anniversary of that earthquake when it comes round each year.

“I don’t even acknowledge it. I just try to move forward.

“I spend time with my grandchildren and play the odd game of golf.”