Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gruesome Scenes in Search for Living; Rescue Teams Fly in from around World

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Gruesome Scenes in Search for Living; Rescue Teams Fly in from around World

Article excerpt

Byline: Michael Black

RESCUERS were still searching for survivors yesterday after an earthquake devastated a New Zealand city.

Prime Minister John Key declared the event a national disaster and analysts estimated its cost at up to pounds 7.4bn.

Hundreds of troops, police and emergency workers raced against time and aftershocks which threatened to collapse more buildings in Christchurch.

They picked gingerly through the ruins, poking heat-seeking cameras into gaps between tumbles of bricks and sending sniffer dogs over concrete slabs.

Teams rushed in from Australia, the United States, Britain and Japan and elsewhere in Asia, along with a military field hospital and workers to help repair power, water and phone lines which were damaged in all corners of the city of some 350,000 people.

The news was grim at the Canterbury Television building, a seven-storey concrete-and-glass structure which housed the regional TV network.

An English language school used by young visitors from Japan and South Korea was also located there.

The concrete floors lay piled on top of one another, its central stairwell tower still standing, but leaning precariously.

"We don't believe this site is now survivable," police operations commander Inspector Dave Lawry told reporters. He said rescuers were moving to sites which were less dangerous and where there was more hope for survivors.

Canterbury TV chairman Nick Smith said 15 of his employees were still missing inside the collapsed building. Also missing were 10 Japanese language students, said Teppei Asano, a Japanese official monitoring the situation.

Not far away, cheers erupted as rescuers pulled a woman from another crumpled office tower.

Ann Bodkin was reunited with her husband after a painstaking rescue from the twisted metal and concrete remains of the Pyne Gould Guinness building. Giant sunbeams burst through the city's grey, drizzly weather as she emerged.

"They got Ann out of the building, and God turned on the lights," Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said.

Police Superintendent Russell Gibson said early on Thursday that the last survivor had been pulled out at 2pm on Wednesday, and no trapped quake survivors had been found since. …

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