Christchurch man lucky to be alive after shocking rockfall smashes car

A Christchurch man says he's lucky to be alive after a shower of rocks smashed into his car as he was driving.

State Highway 1, south of Kaikoura, had to be closed for 24 hours, after heavy rain triggered the rockfall on Friday evening.

Andrew Patterson thought his time was up when he was pelted by falling rocks - one the size of two basketballs - as he drove along the highway.

The bent metal and smashed glass of his car shows just how lucky he was.

"I heard this cascading noise of rocks coming down directly above me, nowhere to go," said Patterson.

"Next thing I know, my door's crushed, windows are popping, airbags are popping, the windscreen smashes, I was just suddenly expecting one to hit the roof and crush me."

The rockfall near the Parititahi Tunnel left the road closed while geotechnical advisors carried out aerial inspections.

The New Zealand Transport Agency says containers have been put in place and the road has now been reopened, but drivers should expect delays as further work is carried out to secure the slope.

The road is no stranger to rockfalls. It has undergone extensive work following the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake, when huge boulders came down closing it for over a month.

While these rocks weren't as large, they could still have been fatal.

"[I'm] still slightly shaken, a few cuts and bruises from the impact of shattered glass, it kind of puts life in perspective doesn't it," said Patterson.

Looking back at his car, a once in a lifetime encounter he hopes not to repeat.


Contact Newshub with your story tips: