Maple Ridge family survives third Indonesian earthquake

Logan Lay has brain cancer and was on bucket-list trip with her family

Surviving a deadly earthquake on a bucket-list vacation is nothing compared to fighting cancer.

A Maple Ridge family on a bucket-list trip escaped to Bali just days before a third major earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Lombok, raising the death toll to more than 300.

Logan Lay, 21, and her family were in Lombok for the final leg of their journey when a 6.9 earthquake hit Aug. 5, killing hundreds of people and flattening homes on the Indonesian island east of Bali.

Logan was diagnosed with brain cancer June 3, 2005, when she was eight years old. She went through seven years of solid treatment. She did three different cycles of chemotherapy and had brain and spine radiation, as well as multiple surgeries.

Logan started chemotherapy again for the fourth time and had been doing chemo since October of 2016. As of January 2018, she had finished eight cycles.

When Logan was first diagnosed, the family had decided to throw caution to the wind and started to live a bucket list.

Over 12 years, they traveled to 20 countries.

Logan, her younger brother Brody, father Jared and mother Jennifer Montgomery-Lay had been in Indonesia for a month and were in Bali on July 29 when the first earthquake hit the region.

That earthquake registered at 6.4.

“We woke up and Jared and I were like, ‘Woah, earthquake,’” said Jennifer.

“But it was quick, it was only like 10 or 15 seconds. So we ran out to the balcony to like, ‘What are we feeling,’ and we saw a bunch of people run outside,” she said.

“But it wasn’t anything like what we experienced in Lombok,” added Jennifer.

The family decided to continue on their journey after doing research and consulting with geologists and friends.

“We were like, ‘What are the chances of two big earthquakes hitting?’” said Jennifer, who remembered thinking that they were just being paranoid.

Plus, she said, if they cancelled the reservation, they would lose a lot of money, so they continued.

They arrived on the island of Lombok on Aug. 1 and on Aug. 5 they had just returned to their rooms at around 7 p.m. in the second floor of the three-storey villa they were staying at when an earthquake registering 6.9 on the Richter scale hit.

“We had only been in our room for probably less that 10 minutes and I had all of Logan’s medication trays out and was just reloading her medication for the tail end of the trip,” explained Jennifer.

As she was opening pill bottles, it hit.

They heard cracking concrete and things smashing. Jennifer yelled earthquake. They ran to the adjoining room door where their children were.

“When we ran to the door. Brody already had the door open and Jerod was just like,’Run,’” said Jennifer.

The couple grabbed Logan, who was unable to run, and ran as fast as they could out of the villa and up a hill to a gathering station.

“We were worried because our villa was over this big ravine and it had a floating bridge stairwell that we had to get across that we were afraid was going to break,” said Jennifer.

Jennifer estimates that first big earthquake went on for about 45 seconds to a minute.

As soon as the earth stopped shaking, Jared realized they had left all of Logan’s medication and their passports back in their room.

“I was crying because I was like, ‘I don’t want you to go back in there.’ But [Jared said], ‘Jenni, she takes like 15 medications a day. If she doesn’t have her meds, we are so screwed. This is going to end in tragedy anyways.”

Jared ran back into the building.

“We could see the building was cracking, but he had to go back in,” said Jennifer.

Just as Jared ran back out again, everything in hand, the next tremor hit. Then another.

Then there was a tsunami warning. They ran as fast as they could up a hill to a highway, beyond which was jungle.

“We’re like there’s no friggin way Logan’s going to make it up this hill,” said Jennifer, who still had her phone on her.

So they figured how high estimates were for the tsunami and decided they were high enough to avoid danger.

Once the tsunami warning was lifted, about two hours later, the Lay family made their way back where staff found them a room in a bungalow area of the unfinished hotel.

“There was no power, we were completely in the dark, we were having multiple aftershocks. I think in an hour we had about 20,” said Jennifer, adding that they didn’t get into a room until about 3 a.m., but they stored their belongings there and sat outside because they were so scared.

The following day, Jennifer estimates there were more than 100 aftershocks and the family felt that they should stay put. There were no flights off the island and no boats. They were getting images of frantic people gathering at the port waiting to get out.

“There’s no way we can go there and have no food, no water, no shade, with Logan … ” said Jennifer.

They called the Canadian embassy, where they were told there was nothing that could be done for them. The Lays spent another night on the island and were evacuated after two more earthquakes hit.

“The second night we were evacuated, we ended up sleeping outside in the open air palapa of their lobby. Just like laying on mats together because we’re like there’s no way we are going back to the room,” explained Jennifer.

The next morning at around 5 a.m. they decided to make their way to the port.

“We missed the first boat. But they were gracious enough to get us on the next boat,” Jennifer added.

The boat ride was about six hours and another two-hour car ride to a hotel in Bali, where they planned to stay for a couple days to stabilize Logan.

“With her tumour, we are just trying to manage all of the symptoms with a lot of medication and a lot of fluids and such through her tube,” Jennifer said, explaining that Logan’s tumor affects her ability to regulate her blood pressure and her heart rate.

When she gets tired, she can’t control her swallowing.

By the time they got to the hotel, Jennifer and Jared were pushing 60 hours with no sleep.

“I felt like I was drunk. I was shaking by that point and so delirious,” said Jennifer.

After a couple of days in Bali, the family are planning to fly to Bangkok, Thailand’s capital, for another couple of days before flying to Taipei, Taiwan, and finally to Vancouver on Aug. 13.

A 6.9-magnitude tremor struck Lambok again Thursday, killing hundreds more.

“One day we are going to go back and we are going to remember the beautiful things about the island and we are going to remember how all the people took care of us and how everybody helped us,” said Jennifer.

“What people don’t really realize is that experiencing something like this on your bucket-list dream trip is nothing in comparison to being so terrified that your child is going to die for 13 years in your own home.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP are looking for a suspect who rammed a police car to escape an arrest attempt. (File photo)
Drug trafficking suspect rams police vehicle in Nanaimo and escapes arrest

Suspect still at large after fleeing from police in Harewood on Friday afternoon

Dr. Richard Stanwick, Island Health chief medical health officer, immunizes Victoria Schmid, Island Health’s vice-president of pandemic planning. (Submitted photo)
Island Health advising people to get a flu shot

People looking to get vaccinated should book an appointment, says Island Health

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Second hospital long overdue

Tertiary model would be best served by a completely new design, says letter writer

Artist’s rendering of a townhouse development approved for the south end of Ninth Street. (Straight Street Design image)
Townhouse development on Ninth Street gets nod from Nanaimo city council

Development permit issued for 47-unit project near Parkway Trail

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters COVID-19 records with 817 weekend cases; masks now expected indoors

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

RCMP have released more details regarding what led up to an arrest caught on video in Williams Lake Sunday, Oct. 26. (Facebook video screenshot)
Review launched after ‘high-risk, multi-jurisdictional’ chase, arrest in Williams Lake

RCMP launching a full review and code of conduct investigation

Freighter drags anchor towards Boulder Point Oct. 22. It came within 730 metres of the shore, according to maps from the Port of Nanaimo. (Photo submitted)
MacGregor introduces bill to address freighter anchorages along the South Coast

Concerns about the environment, noise, pollution and safety abundant

(Pxfuel)
B.C. limits events in private homes to household, plus ‘safe six’ amid COVID-19 surge

Henry issued a public health order limiting private gatherings to one household, plus a group of ‘safe six’ only

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Harvesters participating in the extended commercial halibut season will need to land their catch in either Prince Rupert (pictured), Vancouver, or Port Hardy by Dec. 14. (File photo)
B.C.’s commercial halibut season extended three weeks

COVID-19 market disruptions at the root of DFO’s decision

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

A heavy police presence was spotted in Lumby, Monday, Oct. 26, 2020. (Facebook)
Police situation leads to ‘hold and secure’ at North Okanagan school

Police call for social media blackout in ongoing incident

Most Read