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Christchurch earthquake: ACT rescuers remember disaster 10 years later | Canberra Times

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Matt Spakman was resting on the couch after a long night shift when he first received a call about the devastation and devastation across the Tasman River. “It was incredibly fast,” said Mr. Spackman. “The phone rang and I looked at the TV and saw the earthquake unfolding in Christchurch, and asked if I was available for publication.” “Within 24 hours of being notified, we were at the site of the earthquake.” Mr. Spackman was one of several ACT crew members deployed to Christchurch to assist in rescue efforts in the aftermath of the devastating magnitude 6.2 earthquake that struck the city in 2011. Monday marks 10 years since the day of the disaster, which Killed 185 people. Mr. Spackman was among the first Australian emergency teams deployed to aid the recovery, which included going to the rubble of a layered building and searching for survivors. “It was a frightening feeling, because Christchurch was the same size as Canberra, there was no electricity, and emergency alarm systems were ringing all over the city,” he said. “It was like a war zone. We arrived and it was dark and there were all the aftershocks that shook the ground and the remnants of the buildings that we were expected to enter and check.” At the time of the earthquake, Mr. Spackman was the youngest member of the rescue crew airborne from Australia to help, which consisted of emergency crew members from states across the country. He said the impact of the earthquake was particularly violent. “The office buildings that we were looking at collapsed like pies, and all the floors fell above the people, and the people inside were surprised,” he said. “We would find people who were under their desks or in boxes and we would find people everywhere. We would locate bodies repeatedly.” His colleague in the European Space Agency, Colonel O’Rourke, was sent to Christchurch as part of a second Australian division, 10 days after the earthquake. “Our role was to enter and help retrieve the bodies that were identified during the first deployment,” he said. “As we progressed, we began to transcend the rubble and started supporting the community’s recovery and doing the work to bring people home and restore power.” Mr. O’Rourke said he can still remember the silence that engulfed the city in the aftermath of the earthquake. He said, “We did our duty about the extent of the damage and what the landscape would be like, but it was not what we thought at first.” “The buildings were next to them and were completely demolished. All roads were uneven and deformed and liquefaction overflowed to the surface.” We have been challenged in a way we’ve never faced before. “Robert Wiggins, ACT Ambulance member. An urban search-and-rescue paramedic dispatched to the third wave of Australian assistance.” It was strange to be in a city that was completely evacuated at that point with no signs of life. There were no birds or animals, and certainly no humans. I still remember the smell of foodstuff stores because their fridges were all closed for the whole week and all the food was rotting, ”he said. Mr. Spackman will meet with some of his fellow Australian crew members on Monday in Sydney to coincide with the anniversary and watch the live broadcast of memorial services taking place. It aired from New Zealand, where he said, “It’s definitely hard to believe 10 years have passed.”

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February 22, 2021 – 5:00 AM

Matt Spakman was resting on the couch after a long night shift when he first received a call about the devastation and devastation across the Tasman River.

“It was incredibly fast,” said Mr. Spackman. “The phone rang and I looked at the TV and saw the earthquake unfolding in Christchurch, and asked if I was available for publication.”

“Within 24 hours of being notified, we were at the site of the earthquake.”

Mr. Spackman was one of several ACT crew members deployed to Christchurch to assist with rescue efforts in the aftermath of a devastating 6.2 magnitude earthquake that struck the city in 2011.

Monday marks ten years since the disaster, which killed 185 people.

ACT Paramedic Rob Wiggins, who was part of the Christchurch earthquake recovery effort

Mr. Spackman was among the first Australian emergency teams deployed to aid the recovery, which included going to the rubble of a building to the ground and searching for survivors.

“It was a frightening feeling, because Christchurch was the same size as Canberra, there was no electricity, and emergency alarm systems were ringing all over the city,” he said.

“It was like a war zone. We arrived and it was dark and there were all the aftershocks that shook the ground and the remnants of the buildings that we were expected to enter and check.”

At the time of the earthquake, Mr. Spackman was the youngest member of the rescue crew airborne from Australia to help, which consisted of emergency crew members from states across the country.

He said the impact of the earthquake was particularly violent.

The earthquake destroyed flattened buildings across the city. Photo: Supplied

“The office buildings that we were looking at collapsed like pies, and all the floors fell above the people, and the people inside were surprised,” he said.

“We would find people who were under their desks or in boxes and we would find people everywhere. We would locate bodies repeatedly.”

His colleague in the European Space Agency, Colonel O’Rourke, was sent to Christchurch as part of a second Australian division, 10 days after the earthquake.

“Our role was to enter and help retrieve the bodies that were identified during the first deployment,” he said.

“As we progressed, we began to transcend the rubble and started supporting the community’s recovery and doing the work to bring people home and restore power.”

Mr. O’Rourke said he can still remember the silence that engulfed the city in the aftermath of the earthquake.

He said, “We did our duty about the extent of the damage and what the landscape would be like, but it was not what we thought at the beginning.”

The buildings were on their side and completely demolished. The roads were all uneven and deformed, with liquefaction overflowing to the surface.

“We have been challenged in a way we have never faced before.”

ACT Paramedic member Robert Wiggins was an urban search and rescue medic dispatched in the third wave of Australian aid. “It was weird to be in a city that was completely evacuated at that point without any signs of life. There were no birds or animals and certainly no people. I still remember the smell of food stores because they all had refrigerators stopped all week and all the food was Rotten. “

Mr. Spackman is scheduled to meet with some of his fellow Australian crew members on Monday in Sydney to coincide with the anniversary and watch a live broadcast of memorial services broadcast from New Zealand. “It’s definitely hard to believe 10 years have passed,” he said.

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