– Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand

I am one of the lucky ones who escaped the devastating collapse of the CTV building.

I work as the Sales Manager at CTV (Canterbury Television). My wife had worked at QE11 Park for 24 years. On the 22nd February 2011 at 12.25pm she phoned to say that she had jumped into the main pool to save a man who was in difficulty earlier that hour. She was fully clothed and asked me if I could go home, pick up some dry clothes and drop them to her so that she could teach her next class at 1pm.

I was due to hold a meeting with my sales staff at 1pm but agreed to do this. I delayed the sales meeting until 1.30pm so all of the team decided to stay and catch up on some paper work. None of them survived.

I left the building at 12.40pm and was within 5 minutes from home when the quake struck. Besides the extreme difficulty maintaining a straight course in my car, my most vivid memory was the number of dogs running in all directions, across the road, jumping fences, yelping in fear.

Knowing that this was a major event I quickly continued on, changing direction to take me directly to QE11 Park. The roads and bridges that I drove down and crossed were later closed because of extreme damage and liquification. The adreneline rush was such that I didn’t notice how bad they were. On reaching QE11 I found my wife in the outside park marshalling over 250 children who had been in the pools that day. All were wet, cold and in some cases, histerical. After ascertaining that she was ok I rushed home to check on the state of our house. It wasn’t good.

Calls to my colleagues at CTV went unanswered. I received a call from my brother at 1.40pm who had a building within a block of the CTV building. He gave me the news. I later realised that the unaswered calls I had made were to colleagues who I would never speak to again

I lost 16 of my colleagues, friends that day out of 115 fatalities in the CTV building.

If it was not for my wife helping someone in trouble earlier in the day, I would have been the 17th victim from Canterbury Television lost in that building that day.

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