CTV survivor warned of others trapped
Thu, 01 Nov 2012 12:23p.m.
By Kloe Palmer
A demolition expert who dug through the rubble in the hours following the CTV building collapse has spoken of his experience as he pulled a woman to safety.
Diggers, cranes and concrete cutters were just some of the machinery that helped in the rescue operation.
It is hoped demolition crews can help a coronial inquest determine how and when eight people died after they survived the initial collapse.
Douglas Watts of OMC Power was certain he could hear a human cry from beneath the rubble his machinery was working on. He called for silence and started digging by hand.
According to Mr Watts, this happened soon after his crew arrived, which he says wasn’t long after the earthquake struck.
“The first thing she said when she got out was, in an Asian accent, ’50 more people, 50 more people’, that’s when I realised there were more people in there.”
During this stage of the Coronial Inquiry, emergency services have come under fire for being disorganised during the initial stages of the rescue.
Today, demolition workers who helped on site were asked their opinion.
Jason Campbell of Smith Crane and Construction told the inquiry his crane was used to lift some of the first firefighters on the scene to the top of the building’s burning lift shaft, to check for survivors.
He says as time went on, the Urban Search and Rescue took over with a more structured approach, meaning demolition workers had to tone down their techniques.
“We got told USAR think like rescuing people, think like recovering people. Contractors are all rip, shit and bust.”
Alan Edge from Southern Demolition is expected to take the stand this afternoon.
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