More bodies are likely to be pulled from the rubble of the Canterbury Television building which collapsed in today's Christchurch earthquake, a man involved in assisting rescue teams in their hunt for survivors said tonight.
The Southern Demolition employee, who did not want to be named, told NZPA rescue personnel pulled bodies from the rubble while he was assisting in the recovery effort.
"We were working on one side of the building and on that side we managed to pull one person alive but we also pulled out a body. On the other side they pulled out four or five - I don't know if they were dead or alive.
"It was awful," he said.
He held fears for the Japanese students at a language school that was based in the building and said grimly that more bodies were destined to be pulled from the destruction.
"It was a big building and now it's nothing. There's got to be more inside there.
"But who knows? There may be pockets of air everywhere."
He said rescue personnel were risking their lives to jack up parts of the building allow members of urban search and rescue to look for survivors.
"Those guys are brilliant. They get in there where they shouldn't be and if they hear anything everything is turned off while they locate where the sound is coming from," he said.
A human chain was formed on one side of the building to move bricks while on the other side diggers were used to clear the way to give rescue teams better access to the ruins.
But a fire that broke out in the adjacent building posed problems for rescuers. It continued to spark back into life despite the best efforts of helicopters dousing it with monsoon buckets and firefighters tackling it with hoses.
The 40-year-old, who spent six hours at the scene with workmates, said they would be there all night helping where they could.
While travelling to the site he saw a bus that had been hit by falling debris on Colombo Street and believed it would hold more victims.
"The whole side of it was wiped out, all down the left-hand side. If anyone was on that side of the bus when it was hit they would have died, no question."