NE Scotland, Orkney & Shetland

Grampian quake firefighters return from New Zealand

L-R Keith McKenzie, Terry Poole, Neil Barnett, Gary Carroll, Brian Easson and Scott Imray
Image caption The members of the six-strong Grampian team have returned home

Grampian firefighters who went to New Zealand to aid the earthquake rescue effort have returned home after completing their mission.

The six-strong team was alerted by the UK government following an official request for help from Christchurch.

They became involved in clearing a collapsed insurance building.

Area manager Andy Coueslant said: "We are delighted to see the team home safe and well after an intense and challenging time in New Zealand."

He added: "They worked exceptionally hard in extraordinary circumstances and they left a very positive impression in New Zealand.

"Everyone is extremely proud of the team, they are outstanding ambassadors."

Officials from the British High Commission and the UK Foreign Office earlier visited the team to express their gratitude.

The six men are team leader Scott Imray, of Stonehaven; Brian Easson and Terry Poole, of Peterhead; Neil Barnett, of Aberdeen; Gary Carroll, of Ballater; and Banchory-based Keith McKenzie.

They are immunized, trained and equipped to respond at short notice to incidents abroad.

The team was part of the UK International Search and Rescue outfit which was dispatched to the disaster zone.

More than 150 people are known to have died in the disaster.

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