Witnesses tell of horrific Christchurch CTV building collapse "like 9/11"
By Joelle Dally and Michael Wright | Stuff.co.nz
A man who was attending relationship sessions on the sixth floor of the CTV building was so anxious about its safety he could not wait to get out.
Eyewitness accounts of the building’s collapse were being heard by the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission today.
David Bainbridge’s evidence was read to the royal commission hearing this afternoon, although he was present to answer questions.
In his statement, Bainbridge, a former builder, said he visited the building three times to attend sessions with his wife, Leanne.
On his second and third visits, on February 2 and February 16, 2011, he noticed damage "which concerned me.’’
When walking out of the lift onto level 6 on the third visit, he noticed the internal column in the foyer had at least three large cracks and other hairline cracks.
"These ran all around the column,’’ he said.
There were also flakes of concrete the size of a 50cent coin around the bottom of the column.
He could also see water damage around the top of the column.
"It looked like the column had performed to its capacity in the previous earthquakes, but would fail in any further events,’’ he said.
Bainbridge also noticed an exterior spandrel on the outside of the building between levels 5 and 6 was chipped, damaged and was not in line with the building.
"From what I observed I believe it had suffered significant movement prior and had at some stage been compressed against the North Core.’’
He asked his counsellor, Anne Malcolm, who survived the collapse, about what he had observed.
"She told me that they had been told the building was safe and had been signed off.’’
He had wanted to take photos on his cellphone as he was leaving but the lift arrived.
"I felt so uneasy about being in the building I could not wait to get out."
~ When he arrived the fire was already smouldering and he could see smoke. At that stage it was localised to the lift shaft area. Eventually flames became visible, indicating the fire was burning underneath, he said. He estimated a third of the building was smouldering.
~ The masonry blocks he had been working on had "completely disintegrated".
"It looked like the building had fallen into a hole.’’
~Penelope Spencer has described how pillars on the CTV "exploded" about 10 seconds after the quake.
~Watching The CTV building collapse was "exactly like seeing the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings", an eyewitness says. "The top floated down and was engulfed by dust," he said. He did not see any pillars collapse, rather he described the collapse as if the building was sinking into a black hole.
Read the full article at: stuff.co.nz
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