Saturday, March 5, 2011

No one killed by quake in New Zealand cathedral

From New Zealand-

Searchers declared Saturday that no one had died in the rubble of Christchurch's well-known cathedral — a rare piece of good news in the final days of a grim recovery operation following an earthquake that devastated New Zealand's second-largest city and killed at least 165 people.

Authorities had feared that as many as 22 people were inside the Christchurch Cathedral's stone bell tower when it was toppled by a magnitude 6.3 quake on Feb. 22.

Police Supt. Sandra Manderson said urban search and rescue teams had completed their excavation of the area and confirmed that no one was trapped inside what had been a popular tourist attraction.

"Urban search and rescue (teams) have cleared the whole area ... and they've found no bodies," she told National Radio.

The Dean of Christchurch Rev. Peter Beck has been advised and was "absolutely elated," she said.

Manderson said she hoped that the surprise good news would bring down the estimated death toll of the disaster from as high as 240 to around 220. She said she was investigating what the estimate of 22 people in the tower had been based on.

More here-

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