Safety concerns prior to fatal Chch quake

A woman who died when Christchurch's CTV building collapsed in February's devastating earthquake had expressed concerns about the safety of her workplace before the quake, an inquest has heard.

The coronial inquest into the deaths from Christchurch's February 22 earthquake resumed yesterday, led by Waikato coroner Gordon Matenga, after it was abandoned in June when the city was rattled by another violent aftershock.

Yesterday Matthew Boyce read from a letter about the death of his partner, Gillian Sayers, an English teacher who worked at King's Education in the CTV building, The Press reported.

The letter, written by Ms Sayers' sister Joanne Macgregor, said Ms Sayers had questioned the safety measures carried out by her employer after September's 7.1 quake.

Ms Sayer's had repeatedly asked at staff meetings for the shelves in the teachers' resource room to be secured to the walls, which had not happened by the time of the February quake, the letter said.

Ms Macgregor questioned whether the unsecured shelving could have denied her sister and her colleagues vital seconds to escape.

The inquest, which is expected to continue until the end of the week, will today explore whether the rescue effort contributed to some fatalities.

Detective Inspector Paul Kench earlier told the inquest it was possible the February quake's death toll of 181 could rise by three or four as police may not have been notified about people listed as injured in the quake, who later died of their injuries.

During the week the inquest will hear evidence relating to the 88 victims from the CTV building, the 18 killed in the PGC Building, and the 41 people killed in other city and suburban locations.

The hearing comes after an inquest into nine unidentified victims of the quake was completed in May.

The cause of the building collapses will be separately investigated by the Royal Commission of Inquiry.




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