Firefighters Return From New Zealand

Firefighters from Hampshire and West Sussex who flew out to New Zealand to help after the earthquake there are due back home today.

Seven are due to arrive at Heathrow today (Tuesday 8th March) at around 13.57 and they should arrive back in Hampshire at 1700. The rest of the team will get back in the UK on Wednesday 9th March.

They joined the 61 UK firefighters who spent days searching collapsed buildings in Christchurch for victims.

There are 161 confirmed fatalities with at least 50 people are still thought to be missing - 70 people were rescued alive.

UKISAR Commander confirmed a total of 13 victims recovered, whilst searching for live casualties.

The most significant work done by UK-ISAR was the search of the collapsed Pyne Gould Corporation office block which had seen multiple rescues in the early stages and was handed over to UK-ISAR shortly after the teams arrival.

UK ISAR Head of operations in New Zealand, Hampshire Group Manager Pete Crook, said:

 “UK-ISAR spent over 150 hours working round the clock to search the entire structure.  This required complete de-layering and deconstruction of the entire building methodically and carefully to ensure any casualties, alive or dead would be recovered. 

“This was a tremendous effort by the whole team in trying circumstances and clearly appreciated by the New Zealand authorities and the families of the victims.”