Reunion with Abbotsford heroes

Finally able to thank in person two of the firefighters who saved her family after the Abbotsford landslip in Dunedin is Suzanne Emslie, together with Laurence Smith (left) and Allan Bridger.

At the time of the slip, in 1979, Miss Emslie was a 14-year-old who found herself among 17 residents, including her parents and sister, stranded on moving ground.

They watched homes and cars crash into the widening void before a group of firefighters bravely crossed the broken ground in darkness to rescue them.

''Forty years on, it's just so nice to meet a couple of fellas who helped us off the hill,'' Miss Emslie said.

Photo: Linda Robertson
Photo: Linda Robertson
''It was just slipping away at our feet ... my sister got whipped up into their arms because she was a little tiny thing. I told them I was way too big and I'll walk beside you!''

Mr Bridger (76), who, along with Mr Smith (71), was a firefighter based out of the old Roslyn Station at the time, said he remembered a woman grabbing his hand during the rescue, as trees shook violently nearby, disturbed by the moving ground.

''She grabbed my hand and she never let that go until we were on solid ground.

''I had no feeling whatsoever in that hand ... it was good to get them off.''

The trio got on like a house on fire yesterday as they enjoyed cups of tea and pored over dramatic photos of the slip. 

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