Christchurch Quake Tragedy 65+ dead
Thoughts are with the people of Christchurch and outlying areas at this sad time when at least 65 lives have been lost, buses crushed under rubble, houses destroyed and more turmoil for people who have already been through too much.
This morning’s police release says:
A large number of people have been pulled alive from collapsed buildings as rescuers have continued to work throughout the night under floodlights.
There are two buildings within the city which suffered major collapse while there were significant numbers of people inside. These are the PGG building on Cambridge Terrace and the CTV building on the corner of Madras and Cashel Streets.
Superintendent Russell Gibson said that since 1pm yesterday 22 people, including two with serious injuries, have been rescued from the PGG building. A further 22 people are believed to be still trapped. There is communication with at least three of these people and it is understood they are not hurt.
Eight people have also been rescued from the CTV building. It is thought a large number are still unaccounted for and work is ongoing to match up reports of missing people with specific locations and buildings.
Police are also aware of there being a number of deceased people in both buildings.
The focus of Police and Urban Search and Rescue at this stage is the rescue of those still trapped, rather than the recovery of the dead.
Supt Gibson said: “It is difficult to speculate on the total death toll as it is such a rapidly evolving situation. We know it will be significant and we know there are a lot of people going through the nightmare ordeal of waiting for news of their loved ones. All of the agencies involved in this operation are working as hard as possible to bring some clarity to the situation and some answers families and friends.”
The Cathedral which survived last time took a hit, losing its spire.
All freight and commuter trains in the Canterbury region - those between Ashurton and Picton and on the West Coast – are halted.
A coal train derailed, there are bridge cracks and line damage but no reported injuries.
This is the latest info provided by KiwiRail:
TranzAlpine has been stopped at Greymouth and the return service has been cancelled. There are 231 passengers on board and we are sourcing alternative accommodation for them as the state of the road and track is unknown.
TranzCoastal has been stopped at Picton with approximately 163 passengers. Again the service to Christchurch has been cancelled until the state of the track can be confirmed and arrangements are being made for these passengers too.
TranzAlpine and TranzCoastal services will not be running tomorrow.
Interislander services across Cook Strait are still operating as normal, although we note that Civil Defence has asked people not to travel to Christchurch.
A coal train derailed at Heathcote with 7 wagons affected, but still upright. There were no injuries, and the train driver reported cracks in the Martindale Bridge, so the police could stop traffic.
KiwiRail chief executive Jim Quinn said initial track inspections had begun. Damage to track include:
- Buckles in the Addington area
- Buckles between Belfast and Rangiora
- A slip on the city side of the Lyttelton Tunnel.
This was some of the track damage in the September quake: