Desperation around collapsed PGG building

06:49, Feb 22 2011
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The back of the collapsed PGG building.
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Earthquake damage in central Christchurch.
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Earthquake damage at Cashel Mall in central Christchurch.
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A man waiting to be rescued from Forsyth Bar building.
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An injured women is comforted near Cashel Mall in central Christchurch.
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An injured man near Cashel Mall in central Christchurch.
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The Baptist Church on Madras St.
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A man lies injured near Cashel Mall.
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A smashed car is seen in a car parking building.
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Crushed cars are seen in a car parking building.
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Rescue workers search for survivors through debris.
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Collapsed buildings in Manchester Street.
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Collapsed buildings and debris are seen along Manchester Street.
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Rescue workers search for survivors through debris.
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Rescuers stop to listen for sounds from survivors in a collapsed building in Manchester Street.
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A bus covered in building debris.
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The PGG-Wrightson building on Manchester St.
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A woman is removed from the wreckage.
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An injured man uses his phone.
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Oxford Terrace Baptist Church with the 911 memorial to NY fire fighters lost in the terrorist attack at left on the bank of the Avon.
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The PGG building across the road from the Band Rotunder on the Avon River.
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Christ's College.
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The Press Building (foreground) and the Christ Church Cathedral at rear.
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Flooding near Ferrymead.
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Flooding near Ferrymead.
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Earthquake damage to the PGG-Wrightson building.
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Men celebrate being rescued from the totalled PGG-Wrightson building.
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Rockfall on Dyers Pass Road.
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Brougham street packed as people try to get away and around the city.
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Cliff damage behind Redcliffs school damaging homes.
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Cars on the sewage ponds roundabout because they cant get over bridge street bridge (at left) due to damage.
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Water damage in on the corner of Pages Rd and ANZAC Dr.
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Army troops arrive in Lyttelton.
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Flooding in Ferrymead.
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Earthquake damage inside The Press building.
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Rubble of a building following the second Christchurch earthquake.
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An injured man receives assistance.
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Firefighters in action in central Christchurch.
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Destroyed shops on Manchester St in the Christchurch CBD.
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Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker speaks to media at the Civil defense centre at the Christchurch Arts Gallery.
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Patients and staff outside the emergency department at the Christchurch Hospital.
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A damaged church on the corner of Manchester Street.
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Firefighters and office workers try and extinguish a blaze and rescue trapped people at the CTV building on Madras Street.
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A Christchurch tram covered in debris.
A man rescued from rubble in Cashel Mall.
A man rescued from rubble in Cashel Mall. If you know this man, please contact our newsroom at news@dompost.co.nz
A marque tents in Hagley Park, originally set-up for the Ellerslie Flower Show, now being used as temporary accommodation.
A marquee in Hagley Park, originally set-up for the Ellerslie Flower Show, now being used as temporary accommodation.
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A military vehicle parks in the street while residents leave the city centre.

Family members gathered outside the PGG building on Cambridge Tce in central Christchurch are trying to stay hopeful that loved ones trapped inside will make it out alive.

The top three floors of the four-storey building completely collapsed in today's shallow 6.3 earthquake.

There were varying reports as to just how many people were trapped, but those at the scene reported there could be dozens unaccounted for.

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Rubble is piled up in Christchurch's Cathedral Square.
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The top of building in Cathedral Square has fallen off.
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The top of the Christchurch Cathedral has collapsed.
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A building that was badly damaged by the quake.
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The top of the Christ Church Cathedral has broken off.
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A building collapses in a pile of dust.
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A car is crushed by a collapsed building.
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A building badly damaged by the quake.
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Damage from the earthquake.
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A collapsed building.
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Bottles and food were thrown off the shelves.
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Damage from the earthquake.
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A man walks past a building destroyed in the quake.
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CRUMBLED: The Press newspaper building was devastated and one staff member was killed in the February 22 earthquake.
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A victim is treated after the quake.
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A church on Gloucester Street.
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The Christ Church Cathedral.
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A resident is treated after being hurt.
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More damage from the quake.
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A woman is rescued from the building.
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Rescue workers frantically try to find those trapped inside the Pyne Gould Corporation building.
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A person is trapped in the Christ Church Cathedral.
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Water pipes have burst throughout the city.
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There are fears that many people are trapped in the collapsed buildings.
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People being rescued from the fourth floor of the Pyne Gould building.
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Cars trapped in the silt clogging the streets of Christchurch.
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Cars crushed under debris.
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Many cars have been crushed by debris.
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Inside the Christchurch Cathedral.
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The four-storey Pyne Gould Corporation building collapsed, and many people were feared trapped inside.
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It is thought this building houses an international school.
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The old Canterbury Provincial Chambers.
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Trying to get an injured person to hospital.
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This bus was hit by falling debris.
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The destruction on Manchester Street.
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A man runs for cover.
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Scenes of devastation from the Christchurch earthquake.
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Rescue workers search for survivors through the debris.
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Scenes of devastation from the Christchurch earthquake.
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Scenes of devastation from the Christchurch earthquake.
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Scenes of devastation from the Christchurch earthquake.
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Scenes of devastation from the Christchurch earthquake.
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Scenes of devastation from the Christchurch earthquake.
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Scenes of devastation in Christchurch.
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A scene of devastation from the Christchurch earthquake.
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Rescue workers help during the Christchurch earthquake.
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Measurements from the quake drum from McQueens Valley as the earthquake struck.

Rescuers were using sledge hammers to get into the building and pull people out, as power to the city has been turned off.

A group of five people who were working for Marsh insurance assessors were the first to be freed.

They were trapped together and said they kept morale up by talking to each other.

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Pyne Gould Corporation building
TRAPPED: Rescue workers frantically try to find those trapped inside the Pyne Gould Corporation building.

Press reporter Martin van Beynen said the mood was still hopeful among families gathered outside the building.

''The mood is hopeful but sombre. People are teary eyed and hugging each other.''

David Hume was waiting for news of his wife of two years, Kathryn. He had not had any contact from her since the earthquake.

The financial planner was on the first floor of the building, he was at home and saw the collapsed building on television.

''I drove to the edge of town and ran from there. It's unbelievable how a new building like that can collapse.''

Wally Tower's wife Gwynn also works on the first floor, he has had no communication from her at all.

His son rang him from Australia after seeing the building on television.

Another woman arrived at the scene crying, ''My baby's in there''.

One man, who declined to be named, said his fiancé was trapped inside. The couple were due to marry on Friday.

Scott Wishheart's partner Anna Harris was working on secondment for Perpetual Plus on the first floor. He had not received a text message from her but another person helping at the scene had told him that contact had been made with her.

The army have cordoned off the scene and rescuers have set up three entry points into the building.

Ross Blackler was on the ground floor about to walk upstairs when the building came down.

''I headed for the doorway and the door came down on top of me. I had no choice. I just stayed on the ground and covered my head.''

''I'm so happy to be alive.''

David Sandeman, 71, was one of the first five rescued.

The five were trapped together on the fourth floor.

''We were trapped under furniture, with probably 12 inches of space. We're just so grateful the guys got up there when the building was rocking and rolling and dug us out.''

''I hope someone will buy me a Lotto ticket.''

Jeff McLay, 50, said they all kept reassuring each other they would be OK as they waited to be rescued.

''I didn't think that would ever be me,'' he said. ''It was pretty awful.''

He said about 60 people worked in the building in total.

''It's not good at all,'' he said.

The Press