Former U.S. Senator Evan Bayh (D-Indiana) and his wife Susan were in Christchurch, New Zealand when a deadly earthquake struck Tuesday. A spokesperson with the Washington, D.C. law firm McGuireWoods LLP said the couple was attending an international conference there when the 6.3 magnitude quake hit. The couple is reportedly "okay".
The former Senator was at the university there when the 6.3 earthquake hit. His wife, Susan Bayh, was shopping in the center city. That was the epicenter of the quake.
Mrs Bayh told Fox59 News that she was in a store looking for a gift when the ground started shaking.The store owner grabbed her by her collar and threw her into the street as the building collapsed. Another woman standing right next to her did not survive. Mrs. Bayh said had the shopkeeper not acted at that moment she likely would not be alive.
The Bayhs said the scariest part of the ordeal was that they didn't know where the other one was and they couldn't check on each other for hours. The Senator finally came upon a rescue center where the people knew Mrs. Bayh was safe. She had been put on a bus and sent to the outskirts of the city.
The earthquake flattened buildings and killed more than 65 people. Since then, the Bayh's have left Christchurch after local officials told people to leave damaged sections of the city.
The Bayhs are now trying to get out of the country, but having some difficulty because all their belongings and passports are back at the hotel, among the rubble.
Bayh retired from the Senate in January after choosing not to run for re-election.