Teen films his journey through quake affected area to make a flight

Music 29/11/2016

A teenager who biked and hiked 25km through the rubble of State Highway 1 says no one was going to stop him making his flight.

Jackson Lidgard, 18, is an environmental management student at Otago University. He was meant to be in Christchurch last week to judge an electric vehicle competition, but first had to make it to Kaikōura to catch a flight.

"I'd booked the flight and it was all paid for," he told Newshub.

But thanks to the quake, he was stranded. Help didn't appear to be coming to his family's remote farm, so last Wednesday he got an 10-speed bike and hit the road - or what was left of it - against his parents' wishes.

He left Black Miller Stream and biked south to Kaikōura. At 25km it was far from the longest distance he's done on two wheels, but he never had to contend with slips and cracks in the road like this before.

Mr Lidgard recorded some of his journey, including a trip through an almost pitch-black train tunnel.

He says the tunnels fared better than the roads, so he wasn't too worried they'd collapse on him.

He didn't come across anyone who tried to stop him in the two-hour trek. "Everyone was just intrigued what I was doing," he says.

As for the police, Mr Lidgard doesn't "think they would have minded really.

It's the only way out and you've got to do what you've got to do." He made it to Kaikōura on time, and caught his flight. Help in the form of a helicopter arrived on Friday, two days later.

In the meantime, they're staying in Kaikōura.

When they do go back, which could be six months away, Mr Lidgard says he'd rather not do it on a bike.