Man walks free from collapsed building

3:43 am on 23 February 2011

A man has walked free from a building destroyed by a strong earthquake in Christchurch after being trapped for four hours.

A shallow 6.3-magnitude quake hit the central city at 12.51pm on Tuesday. Scores of people have died and there has been widespread devastation.

The man was in the Canterbury Television building on the corner of Madras and Cashel streets in the central business district.

His sister who had been waiting for him said that he had come out with only minor scratches to his head.

She said he was on the fourth floor of the collapsed CTV building and had been texting her continuously while he was trapped.

Four people were taken out on stretchers late on Tuesday afternoon, but no-one else has been brought out since then.

Earlier, Christchurch woman Pip Bramby told of her escape from the CTV building.

She was among a group of 10 people, including a baby, who were rescued by passers-by.

Ms Bramby said she was on the fifth floor of the building. The roof had fallen in and she and others called out through a hole in the roof to people outside, who came to their rescue.

Ms Bramby said some in the building were critically injured.

Residents give accounts of earthquake

Other Christchurch residents have spoken of houses sinking and buildings swaying as the quake struck.

Roger Redmond, who was sitting in a car outside a parking building near the library, said the road opened up and cracked, and the glass from a multi-storey building fell nearby.

Daniel O'Regan, who was in a building in central Christchurch, says part of the building separated and the same thing happened to several other buildings he could see.


Dale Rogers, who was in a hotel in Cathedral Square that was evacuated when the quake hit, said damage could be seen everywhere and there were clouds of dust from fallen masonry.

Ciaran Fox described how the the windows shattered in his office in Securities House, near Latimer Square, scattering glass everywhere, before he and his colleagues got out of the building.

Radio New Zealand reporter Jessica Horne said her house had sunk into the ground and watermains had burst.

Sumner resident Amanda Cropp said the earthquake was much more violent than the 7.1-magnitude earthqyake on 4 September last year.

She said an enormous rock, about twice the size of a shipping container, fell from the cliff face and landed on a building.

Kerry Munro was at his glass factory in Wigram when the earthquake struck. After checking on the safety of his employees he went into the city to collect his daughter from her school.

On the journey he saw brick facades fallen from homes and one house with a crack through the centre of its roof.

Bob Batty, a town planner, was at council offices in Amberley, an hour north of Christchurch. He says people thought the worst of the 4000 aftershocks were over.

"I can't emphasise enough how fragile people's nerves are down here," he said.

"Even if we hadn't had today's earthquake, people were very much on edge. Several people I know were still very, very upset by the previous earthquakes and today's will have just pushed them right to the limit, I would think."