Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

65 Confirmed Dead as Quake Causes Chaos; Death Toll Isexpectedto Rise,warns Mayor

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

65 Confirmed Dead as Quake Causes Chaos; Death Toll Isexpectedto Rise,warns Mayor

Article excerpt

AT LEAST 65 people have been confirmed dead in New Zealand amid scenes of utter disaster after hundreds of buildings collapsed across the city of Christchurch, crushing cars and buses with passengers trapped inside.

Search and rescue teams were last night scouring the destruction in Christchurch Co the first fatal earthquake in New Zealand since 1968 Co in search of survivors, with the death toll expected to rise as more bodies are found in the rubble.

Mayor Bob Parker said the rescue teams would do everything they could for those still trapped but people needed to prepare themselves for the worst.

C[pounds sterling]There are dozens of people in peril, who may not be able to be saved,'' he said.

The magnitude 6.3 quake struck at 12.51pm (NZ time) as downtown workers and shoppers enjoyed the lunch hour, unlike the September 2010 quake which hit during the night.

The violent shaking caused utter chaos on the streets as buildings crumbled around them.

Witnesses saw people covered in bricks on inner-city footpaths, their bodies later pulled from the rubble in vain rescue efforts.

One backpacker was killed inside his van parked on the street which was struck by bricks, as tearful survivors wandered the streets, dazed and bloodied.

Those trapped inside demolished CBD structures could be heard screaming as they waited to be rescued, some putting signs up at the windows saying C[pounds sterling]HELPC[yen].

Joanne Ah Kuoi had just parked her car on Barbados Street when the earthquake struck, after which she evacuated to Latimer Square.

C[pounds sterling]I was looking at the footpath and it just looked like the road was rolling,C[yen] she said.

C[pounds sterling]I saw two dead bodies just lying there. The city's in turmoil. I just feel really helpless.C[yen]

Fires ignited in damaged CBD buildings from the earthquake, while raw sewage spilled onto the roads and cars sunk into the broken streets. …

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