Essex rescue team in Christchurch earthquake search

Image caption,
Terry Jewell is among six men from Essex involved in the search

A search and rescue team made up of Essex firefighters has arrived in New Zealand to look for survivors of the earthquake in Christchurch.

The Essex International Search and Rescue Team was taking part in a training exercise at their base near Colchester when it was asked to help.

More than 200 people are missing after Tuesday's earthquake, in which 113 people died.

Essex firefighter Terry Jewell said they expected to search for six days.

He is among six of his colleagues searching with other international teams for survivors trapped in collapsed buildings and rubble.

"There are some major areas of destruction with a few particular buildings that we are going to be involved in searching," added Mr Jewell.

"The window of opportunity is about five or six days, depending on access to water and other things, so it's not over yet."

He added: "The team has trained for this and have experience with incidents of this nature."

In October 2009, the team flew to Indonesia with search and rescue dog Darcy, who was able to indicate that there were no survivors under the rubble of three villages hit by an earthquake.

She was impounded for six months on her return, prompting a call by MPs to make search dogs exempt from UK quarantine laws.

She has not travelled to New Zealand because the flight was considered too long and other search and rescue dogs are already at work on site.

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