New Zealand

Fragment: Direct description of the February 2011 earthquake

WARNING: This story contains a direct description of the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, which can be distressing to some readers.

Everyone who was in Christchurch on February 22, 2011 has a story to tell.

115 people have died in the collapse of the CTV building. Richard Austin’s wife Susan Selway was one of them.
Photo: RNZ / Nate McKinnon

You’ve probably talked to friends and family many times. They got used to them and came to define their days.

They all talk on the same day-the stories unfold and overlap at the same time-people cross the road and help each other.

Their explanations are all fragments of the same story, all the smaller fragments of the larger story, the story of a broken city.

RNZ has announced a six-part podcast series, ten years after the February 22, 2011 earthquake. Fragment, Produced and announced by Christchurch-based journalist Katie Gosset.

This series is a compilation of archives of direct accounts recorded the month following the catastrophic earthquake recorded by local Julie Hatton and Sandra Close.

Ten years later, RNZ checked in to some of the survivors and looked back on their experiences.

How has their lives changed by surviving the earthquake?

Episode 4: CTV Building and Latimer Square

CTV building. After February 22, 2011, it will be a common name.

The six-story building stood on the corner of Christchurch CBD’s Kachel Street and Madras Street.

The earthquake killed 115 crew members after the building collapsed. [’t-be-identified

Four of them were never found.]

The collapse of the CTV building and the aftermath of the quest for justice have been a tragedy for many years. It continues to this day..

Like elsewhere in the city, the story of the earthquake building is one of the horrors and humanities when people come to rescue, and a temporary triage center has been set up in the nearby Latimer Square.

Richard Austin’s wife, Susan Selway, bounced around Christchurch’s office a bit after the September 2010 earthquake.

Move from the old Girls Highville to the Kenton Chambers, and from there after the Boxing Day quake, and eventually to the 4th floor of the CTV Building for what was supposed to be a short-term solution. ..

When the quake struck, Richard was on a plane from Auckland to Christchurch. They had to turn back. When they landed, passengers saw news coverage at the airport.

“Then they showed this huge pile of rubble, then panned down something like a camera, and they had this sign in front of it with the words” Canterbury TV House. “

“Looking at it, I thought it was a building containing Susan, God.”

Richard couldn’t get in touch with her.

“She’s a real survivor, so I thought she wasn’t or was there where she should have been for lunch.

“If someone can get out of it, she will get out of it.”

Eventually, he arrived at Christchurch and Latimer Square Triage Center.

But from there he could see the CTV building burning.

He was waiting in the square for 30 hours.

“Soon they came and said,’Hey, we’re downstairs and there are no survivors, so I’m really sorry to say that.'”

Journalist John Campbell was nearby. They met at Auckland Airport the day before.

“He looked up from this interview, looked at me, finished the interview right away … and he said,” How are you? “You know. And I said, “Oh, it doesn’t look very good.”

“And he looked at me somehow, then he burst into tears, he grabbed me, he sobbed my shoulders … so we cried a little together.”

Richard kept waiting. In the end, he was told that there were no survivors left.

“I knew Susan was still there, so it was almost a confirmation to me.”

The Triage Center was organized by Ambulance Officer Craig Stockdale,

But it was hard to get there-the city got stuck-and people kept coming to him for help.

Before that, however, the ambulance crew had to DIY themselves from theirs Damaged station, The place where their vehicles and equipment were trapped.

“The most difficult thing for me in the world was to stay focused on some of the big picture work. I had to tell people.” Look, we can tell you when we can. Contact or your best bet is to pull them out. Just take them to the hospital. ” Now we didn’t have the resources, “says Stockdale.

“If I’m too absorbed in helping one person in one place, you’re like losing it. [bigger] image. And that was really hard for me as a practitioner. Because you are usually one-on-one with the patient, you do your best for that person, and you know and take care of them. “

At Latimer Square, we have installed two large inflatable tents. We have ambulances, staff and equipment in case of a large number of casualties.

“Police were really good, they just came and said,’What do you need?’, And I’d like to blockade this area here, the possibility of a helicopter landing area here, the toilet , You know. “

Decision making has never been easier. Choices such as prioritizing helicopter flights to the hospital are those who are less likely to die before arriving at the hospital than other patients.

But Craig was proud of the work people did there.

“People just got in and did what they had to do and what they were asked to do, perhaps they put themselves in an unusual situation, and I think it’s really great. “

This included police, ambulance staff, firefighters, search and rescue, and construction workers.

Petrie Lee was one of the tragedy who worked to save people from the leftovers of the CTV building.

He was already stinting on the day of the earthquake at the PGC Building and came back the next morning with his companion Tony Tamakev.

“Tony and I had the tacit understanding that in Maori culture it was all about returning and closing the deceased to their families, and we knew that we would go there. … not to mention why we were there. “”

The work was like a game pickup stick, but “instead of a pickup stick, it was a concrete beam and tens of tons of concrete floor.”

Pete worked with other contractors, police and search and rescue teams.

all, On-site rescue and recovery efforts It took more than 2 weeks.

Since then, Pete has left Christchurch.

He changed his lifestyle, values ​​and perspectives.

He lived quietly on a horse and moved to a quiet place where he could pay attention to the important things in life. And yes, February 22nd played a big role in that decision.

That day he knew what he had to do, but he was struggling with what he saw.

Pete is pleased to agree to be interviewed in 2011. It helped him understand that he was traumatized and needed to let go of some things.

“When I started talking, I realized it was an exit. I was able to talk lightly. I just talked. It was like a therapy session to me.”

However, he still has a 10-year-old baggage and feels it every day. I wish he could say something to the man who died in front of him on the roof of the PGC building.

Pete isn’t too obsessed with his heroism award, but he respects the need for the city to say thank you. He likes the understanding shared with people who were with him like Tony Tamakaf, Tim Smith and other teams. They don’t talk much about what happened. They don’t have to. Everyone already knows and understands.

You can hear more by listening to the lives of the victims 10 years from now. Fragment Episode 4: CTV Building and Latimer Square..

Fragments was created and presented by Katy Gosset and co-produced by Gosset and Justin Gregory. Designed by Alex Harmer and Rangi Powick. Video content by Nathan McKinon. Tim Watkin is an executive producer of podcasts and series.

Thanks to Julie Hutton and Sandra Close for recording the interview, and to the people who agreed to the re-interview by RNZ.

Where to get help:

Do you need to talk? You can always send a free phone call or text message with a trained counselor for any reason.

life line: 0800 543354 or text HELP to 4357

Suicide crisis helpline: 0508 828 865/0508 TAUTOKO (24/7). This service is for those who are thinking of suicide or who are worried about their family and friends.

Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (24/7) or text 4202

Samaritan: 0800 726 666 (24/7)

Youth line: 0800 376 633 (24/7) or free text 234 (8 am-12am), or email

how are you: Online chat (3 pm to 10 pm) or 0800 WHATSUP / 0800 9428 787 Helpline (12:00 pm to 10 pm on weekdays, 3 pm to 11 pm on weekends)

Kids line (5-18 years old): 0800 543 754 (24/7)

Rural Support Trust Helpline: 0800 787 254

Health line: 0800 611 116

Rainbow youth: (09) 376 4155

In an emergency, if you or someone else feels at risk, call 111.

Fragment: Direct description of the February 2011 earthquake

SourceFragment: Direct description of the February 2011 earthquake

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