Quake toll rises by four to 160

3:58 am on 3 March 2011

Four more bodies have been recovered from the ruins of a Christchurch building destroyed in last week's earthquake, bringing the official death toll to 160.

Police said the bodies were removed from the Pyne Gould building early on Tuesday morning.

Superintendent Dave Cliff officially released the names of three more victims of the quake. They are:

Jayden Andrews-Howland, 15, of Aranui

Paul Clarence Dunlop, 67, of Rolleston

Andrew Stephen Cochrane, 43, of Bromley

More names would be released shortly, said Superintendent Cliff, as the identification process gained momentum and more post-mortems were completed.

The families of those still missing were taken on a tour of various sites in the central city on Wednesday afternoon.

Superintendent Cliff says it was the first opportunity they have had to view first hand what is being done to locate people.

He says the tour would have given the families an appreciation of the mammoth task searchers have had over the past few days.

Bracing frame for cathedral in place

A massive steel frame designed to brace the front wall of the Christchurch Cathedral has been shifted into place.

The structure, which is several storeys high, will help support the shattered building and make it safe enough for search and rescue specialists to enter the collapsed spire.

It is believed more than 20 people may have been trapped under rubble at the Cathedral when last week's earthquake struck.

The Fire Service says searchers are yet to enter the spire to begin clearing the rubble.

Hotel work progressing

The head of urban search and rescue, Russell Wood, says work in the Grand Chancellor hotel progressed to the 10th floor of the 26-storey building on Wednesday. No casualties had been found.

Search and rescue teams have done a second sweep of buildings that have been given red stickers - meaning they're unsafe to enter - and where they think there could be people inside, but found no more survivors or bodies.

More homes evacuated

Outside the central city, more people have been evacuated on Wednesday from homes in Sumner.

People from 60 homes near the Sumner RSA were told they had to leave because of fears an unstable cliff face may give way.

Residents of Bowenvale Avenue and Dalefield Drive in Cashmere were also told to leave because of concerns about two large unstable boulders.

Meanwhile, a second team of Queensland firefighters and paramedics was heading to Christchurch. The 16-member team will assist in search and recovery and provide medical support. The team will join a 70-strong taskforce from Queensland already working in the city.

Superintendent Russell Gibson said some arrests were made overnight on Tuesday, including of one person who breached the inner-city cordon, two who broke into a damaged suburban bar and two men caught in possession of a cache of jewellery.