Flying drone gives inside scoop on cathedral damage
Wed, 15 Jun 2011 6:00p.m.
By Jeff Hampton
The front of Christchurch's Roman catholic cathedral is held up by straw bales and shipping containers, and the rest of it appears just as unstable.
One hundred and six years after it celebrated its first mass, damage to the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament looks terminal.
Monday's quake damaged arches that support the dome. Engineers are preparing to send in a drone for a second look.
It's a type of toy called a ‘quadricopter’ and was bought from Dick Smith. Controlled by an iPad, it can fly and film. Opus engineers have put a polystyrene reinforcing around it. The drone recently crept its way inside the cathedral for a test flight. The whole area's too dangerous for engineers to get close.
“Even if we lost it in the building ‘cause we're never quite sure with the wi-fi range or the battery life, but if it turned out to be a suicide mission it's a $500 one not a far more serious one,” says Opus engineer Nicholas Dawe.
Apart from a little bother getting in, the drone was able to fly round inside and show the heavy dust that's fallen on the seats below.
“You expect to see quite a lot of carnage but it's just eerie,” says Mr Dawe.
Monday's aftershocks also caused more significant damage to the city's Anglican cathedral in the square.
Civil Defence pictures taken inside the red zone show serious damage to the west wall facing the square, three quarters of it is now down, in spite of steel bracing.
The feature stained glass rose window above the entrance has also been destroyed.
“We will rebuild there's no doubt about that, whether we need to deconstruct the building, whether we have parts we can rebuild on we just don't know that yet, there are so many things we don't, and there are so many things we don't know we don't know,” says ChristChurch Cathedral’s Dean Peter Beck.
The dean says the church's priority at the moment is people, they're prepared to wait for more engineering reports and will also look at the possibility of sending in the drone to know just what they're dealing with.
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22/07/2011 11:25:50 a.m.
It is a great pity that this video is not available to viewers outside of NZ, given the international interest in this heritage building.
17/06/2011 4:54:08 p.m.
Thank you for sharing this video. I went to school here & my parents still attend mass at the Cathedral (although now attend mass at St Marys). So sad to see a beautiful bldg like this.
17/06/2011 10:51:20 a.m.
Paul Barrett wrote:
Why does the Opus engineer, and many others use the word ' carnage' to describe a destroyed building? Carnage obviously means BODILY remains. We have a perfectly good word to describe NON- human remains- WRECKAGE. Why has that stopped being an adequate description?
16/06/2011 7:10:32 p.m.
We know the Cathedral will be rebuilt, but the Catholic Cathedral is truly one of the saddest things beyond the deaths in these earthquakes.
16/06/2011 9:43:40 a.m.
Carl Van Essen wrote:
What a shame that such an iconic building is in such a state.If I could get a quadricopter that worked from my netbook instead of having to have an ipad it would be a great gadget.
16/06/2011 3:42:18 a.m.
First time ive ever been able to seen inside the place during the 45 years ive lived in christchurch.
15/06/2011 6:44:49 p.m.
it is bad
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