Last updated April 12, 2019
A woman trapped inside of the CTV building after the earthquake of 2011 in New Zealand was forced to use her teeth in order to answer her cell phone after she lost the use of her hands. The frightening evidence was given during the coroner’s inquest into the deaths of as many as eight people who actually survived the disaster itself but who nonetheless died prior to being rescued.
One of the firefighters helping to pull people from the rubble at the CTV building was Manu Clarkson, with Alec Cvetanov being one of the people near the building on the night, waiting desperately to hear news of his wife who was trapped inside, waiting along with others to be rescued. Cvetanov spoke to her no less than four times via her old cell phone.
“I asked him if he could get her to send him a text message about her exact location, but he explained to me that she had lost her fingers,” Clarkson remembered. “She could not text. He told me she was using her teeth to answer the phone.”
Urban Search and Rescue and firefighters confess that they were struggling at the scene of the disaster, with no one seeming to be in charge and no plan, command or control in evidence, with commanders and top fire chiefs conspicuous by their absence. “There was a lack of leadership,” notes fire station officer Saskia Rose, with a lack of the proper equipment also proving problematic.