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Special Honours List 23 June 2014 (Bravery Awards)

Special Honours List 23 June 2014 (Bravery Awards)

SPECIAL HONOURS LIST

NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY AWARDS

The Queen has been pleased to approve the following New Zealand Bravery Awards:

THE NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY DECORATION (NZBD)

Dr Bryce CURRAN

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Dr Bryce Curran, an anaesthetist from Christchurch Hospital, was sent to provide medical assistance at the Pyne Gould Corporation building. He made several forays into the building to administer morphine to trapped victims. He then joined urologist Dr Lydia Johns-Putra, a firefighter and a Police officer in a rescue operation to free a man who was trapped inside the building. The man was in danger of bleeding to death with his legs pinned between a concrete pillar and a collapsed floor section. There was no way to remove the concrete safely and a decision was made to amputate both of his legs. Dr Curran administered morphine and ketamine to provide anaesthesia and tourniquets were applied to the man’s legs. Dr Johns-Putra then began the amputation procedure lit by torches and using a hacksaw and penknife. She grew fatigued from the effort of operating the saw in a confined space and passed the hacksaw to Dr Curran who took turns with the Police officer and firefighter in completing the operation. An aftershock occurred during the operation. The man was loaded onto a tarpaulin and escorted to ambulance staff waiting outside the building. Dr Curran rode with the man in the ambulance and assisted in resuscitating him en route to the hospital. Dr Bryce Curran and the rescue team carried out a lengthy operation with minimal equipment in a confined, unstable and dark space whilst under the constant threat of aftershocks. The man survived due to their efforts.

Dr Lydia Grace JOHNS-PUTRA

Citation

When the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on 22 February, Dr Lydia Johns-Putra had been attending a conference of Australasian urologists. Dr Johns-Putra joined fellow doctors to assist those injured in the quake and was directed by Police to the collapsed Pyne Gould Corporation building. She joined anaesthetist Dr Bryce Curran, a firefighter and a Police officer in a rescue operation for a man who was trapped inside the building. The man was in danger of bleeding to death with his legs pinned between a concrete pillar and a collapsed floor section. There was no way to remove the concrete safely and a decision was made to amputate both of his legs. The man was administered morphine and ketamine to provide anaesthesia and tourniquets were applied to his legs. Dr Johns-Putra then began the amputation procedure lit by torches and using a hacksaw and penknife. She grew fatigued from the effort of operating the saw in a confined space and passed the hacksaw to the Police officer, the firefighter and Dr Curran who took turns in completing the operation. An aftershock occurred during the operation. The man was then placed in a tarpaulin and carried to waiting ambulance staff outside the building. Dr Lydia Johns-Putra and the rescue team carried out a lengthy operation with minimal equipment in a confined, unstable and dark space whilst under the constant threat of aftershocks. The man survived due to their efforts.

NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY AWARDS

The Governor-General, under authority delegated by The Queen, has been pleased to approve the following New Zealand Bravery Awards:

THE NEW ZEALAND BRAVERY MEDAL (NZBM)

Stephen ACTON

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. In order to enter the office space of the collapsed building, Senior Firefighter Steve Acton and other firefighters had to break through layers of concrete with hand tools and grinders before tunnelling through office equipment and furniture to reach trapped victims. Acton and a team of three other firefighters located two women trapped beneath a balcony overhang at the rear of the building. The tunnel they created between the collapsed floors ranged from 30 to 70 centimetres high and did not allow for protective gear to be worn. Working in this cavity, Acton utilised his experience as a builder to direct which pieces of debris could be safely moved. One woman was located around five metres inside the tunnel. The firefighters were able to clear an access hole and extract her, with crushed toes. The team then located a second woman pinned to her chair by a concrete beam. Acton was able to free her by sawing the legs off her chair. After approximately four hours, Acton’s team was relieved by a second tunnelling team. The rescue efforts of Acton and his team were carried out in unstable, confined spaces under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Michael John BROOKLANDS

Sergeant, New Zealand Police

Citation

Sergeant Michael Brooklands (now Acting Senior Sergeant) was on duty in central Christchurch when the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck on 22 February 2011. He was one of the first Police officers to arrive at the collapsed Canterbury Television building, and took immediate command at the site. He contacted Police Communications and gave them a situation report, requesting Fire Service and other assistance. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. Sergeant Brooklands worked with three other Police officers on the roof of the building to conduct several rescues amongst the rubble of the building’s lift tower. Their lives were at particular risk during the first hour when they were working under the precarious lift tower that was disintegrating with each aftershock. They were initially able to free a woman and two children. The Police officers then searched for audible tapping or voices and managed to pinpoint the locations of at least eight survivors. Where possible the officers dug down to the survivors they located and using stretchers sourced from the nearby Inland Revenue building, carried the survivors to waiting medical personnel. They heard a woman calling for help in the burning area of the building and made several attempts to reach her from outside the building, with only wet clothing wrapped around their heads to protect against the heat and smoke. This occurred before the Fire Service had arrived on the scene. Due to a brief change in wind direction they were able to climb down inside the building, reach the woman and pull her free. As well as climbing into the building and assisting with rescuing survivors, Sergeant Brooklands assumed control and deployment of staff at the site. He communicated clearly with the Police communications centre, identifying the site needs. He established a grid pattern for the building search and assigned staff to specific areas, as well as initiating the establishment of a triage and mortuary facility. Sergeant Brooklands remained the Police controller at the site until 3.00am the following morning.

Luke Jonathan BURGESS

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the six-storey Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. Senior Firefighter Luke Burgess was part of a team of firefighters who tunnelled through the debris to rescue victims on the car park side of the building. The fourth floor had been compressed to a space of approximately 60 centimetres high with a number of people trapped inside. Luke Burgess teamed up with a second firefighter and tunnelled into the floor where they were eventually able to reach and rescue two women. The firefighters were unable to use breathing apparatus or wear helmets due to the cramped conditions. Debris had to be passed backwards along the bodies of the rescuers and down the tunnel as there was no room to turn around. Firefighters were stationed at the tunnel entrance so that when there were significant aftershocks they could quickly pull the tunnellers out by their feet. Eventually the team of tunnellers, including Burgess, located a small group of students trapped under a beam. Two bodies had to be removed before the students could be reached. One student was trapped by her ankle and it took a long time to free her, but amputation was avoided. Another student was trapped by his head, but was pulled from beneath the beam and extracted through the tunnel. A third student could not be freed until an amputation was carried out by a civilian doctor assisted by another team of firefighters, through an access hole from above. The rescue efforts of Luke Burgess and his team were carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Alan Maurice BUTCHER (Posthumous)

Station Officer, New Zealand Fire Service

DECEASED 18 October 2013, Christchurch

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the six-storey Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. Station Officer Alan Butcher was the Officer in Charge of the first firefighters to arrive at the CTV building. After tasking his crew with firefighting, Butcher carried out a reconnaissance of the building, gathering information about how many people were in the building and its layout. As no other firefighters had yet arrived, Butcher worked with a group of civilians to enter a narrow cavity, where he was able to reassure trapped victims. Butcher became stuck for a short time, but freed himself and was able to extract three survivors, passing them back to the civilian group. The rescue efforts of Alan Butcher were carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Kevin CARR

Lieutenant Commander, Royal New Zealand Navy

Citation

When the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on 22 February 2011, Lieutenant Commander Kevin Carr was working at the HMNZS Pegasus Naval Reserve Personnel Division. After the majority of staff had left Pegasus to join their families, Lieutenant Commander Carr assumed command of the small team remaining and instructed them to search the immediate area and offer assistance. When Carr heard of the extensive damage in the central city he led a team of five into the city to support relief efforts. En route to the central city the team assisted trapped survivors in various buildings where they were able.

At about 3.30pm Carr and his team arrived at the Canterbury Television building, which had collapsed in a “pancake” effect, and began a 12-hour rescue operation. Carr’s team faced significant danger from the fire burning within the building and beneath their feet, as well as persistent aftershocks. Carr crawled several times into tight, dark and smoke-filled gaps in the building to search for survivors. On one occasion part of the roof he was standing on collapsed and he fell part way into the hole that was created. Carr suffered a leg wound at this point but managed to free himself, and he continued to provide leadership for his team in a determined effort to rescue as many people as possible. Carr’s team managed to lift a section of the roof to see if any survivors were present in the fire-affected area of the building. The heat and the flames finally forced the team to withdraw.

Shane Andrew COLE

Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Firefighter Shane Cole accessed the collapsed roof of the building via the ladder of a Bronto Skylift fire truck. On the roof Cole worked with civilians and other firefighters to create a hole and remove debris to reach a trapped woman. Cole and another firefighter went into the hole, extricated the woman and escorted her off the roof. Cole joined two firefighters at the rear of the building where he helped them release a man trapped by his ankle. During this time Cole’s team heard three survivors inside the building and reported their locations. These survivors were rescued later in the day by different teams. Cole joined another two firefighters tunnelling on the second floor and assisted them in rescuing two trapped people. Cole then joined a second tunnelling team on the first floor. The team tunnelled around six to eight metres into the building, cutting through office furniture until they discovered a pocket of five survivors. Four survivors were able to exit through the tunnel on their own while the fifth man remained trapped under a desk. Cole rejoined his first tunnelling team on the second floor where they tunnelled down to reach the trapped man. During this time Cole was working near the stairwell of the building and was able to help another group of firefighters free a woman on the second floor. Cole joined a third tunnelling team where he assisted in clearing debris sent back down the tunnels until he was relieved. Shane Cole’s rescue efforts were carried out in unstable, cramped conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Shane Allan COWLES

Constable, New Zealand Police

Citation

When the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on 22 February, Constable Shane Cowles was one of the first Police officers in attendance at the collapsed Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. Constable Cowles worked with three other Police officers on the roof of the building to conduct several rescues amongst the rubble of the building’s lift tower. Their lives were at particular risk during the first hour when they were working under the precarious lift tower that was disintegrating with each aftershock. They were initially able to free a woman and two children. The Police officers then searched for audible tapping or voices and managed to pinpoint the locations of at least eight survivors. Where possible the officers dug down to the survivors they located and using stretchers sourced from the nearby Inland Revenue building carried the survivors to waiting medical personnel. They heard a woman calling for help in the burning area of the building and made several attempts to reach her from the outside of the building, with only wet clothing wrapped around their heads to protect against the heat and smoke. This occurred before the Fire Service had arrived on the scene. Due to a brief change in wind direction they were able to climb down inside the building, reach the woman and pull her free. The efforts of Shane Cowles and the other Police officers rescued at least six people from the CTV site.

Kevin Rex CROZIER

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the six-storey Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. The fourth floor had been compressed to a space of approximately 60 centimetres high. Tunnels were created into the fourth floor to gain access to a number of survivors trapped inside. Senior Firefighter Kevin Crozier was one of a group of firefighters who took turns tunnelling for long periods in confined spaces, often breathing smoke. The firefighters were unable to use breathing apparatus or wear helmets due to the cramped conditions. Debris had to be passed backwards along the bodies of the rescuers and down the tunnel as there was no room to turn around. Firefighters were stationed at the tunnel entrance so that when there were significant aftershocks they could quickly pull the tunnellers out by their feet. Eventually the team of tunnellers, including Crozier, located a small group of students trapped under a beam. Two bodies had to be removed before the students could be reached. One student was trapped by her ankle and it took a long time to free her, but amputation was avoided. Another student was trapped by his head, but was pulled from beneath the beam and extracted through the tunnel. A third student could not be freed until an amputation was carried out by a civilian doctor assisted by another team of firefighters, through an access hole from above. The rescue efforts of Kevin Crozier and his team were carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Richard Mark GREEN

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the six-storey Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. The fourth floor had been compressed to a space of approximately 60 centimetres high. Tunnels were created into the fourth floor to gain access to a number of survivors trapped inside. Senior Firefighter Mark Green teamed up with a second firefighter and they took turns tunnelling for long periods in confined spaces, often breathing smoke. They tunnelled into the fourth floor where they were eventually able to reach and rescue two women. The firefighters were unable to use breathing apparatus or wear helmets due to the cramped conditions. Debris had to be passed backwards along the bodies of the rescuers and down the tunnel as there was no room to turn around. Firefighters were stationed at the tunnel entrance so that when there were significant aftershocks they could quickly pull the tunnellers out by their feet. Eventually the team of tunnellers, including Green, located a small group of students trapped under a beam. Two bodies had to be removed before the students could be reached. One student was trapped by her ankle and it took a long time to free her, but amputation was avoided. Another student was trapped by his head, but was pulled from beneath the beam and extracted through the tunnel. A third student could not be freed without an amputation. The amputation could not be carried out in the tunnel so Green used a concrete cutter to create a hole above the student. A civilian doctor was then lowered into the hole to perform the amputation. The rescue efforts of Mark Green and his team were carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Terrence David GYDE

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the six-storey Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. The fourth floor had been compressed to a space of approximately 60 centimetres high. Tunnels were created into the fourth floor to gain access to a number of survivors trapped inside. Senior Firefighter Terry Gyde worked with three other firefighters in alternating tunnelling teams of two. The firefighters were unable to use breathing apparatus or wear helmets due to the cramped conditions. Debris had to be passed backwards along the bodies of the rescuers and down the tunnel as there was no room to turn around. Firefighters were stationed at the tunnel entrance so that when there were significant aftershocks they could quickly pull the tunnellers out by their feet. Eventually the team of tunnellers, including Gyde, located a small group of students trapped under a beam. Two bodies had to be removed before the students could be reached. One student was trapped by her ankle and it took a long time to free her, but amputation was avoided. Another student was trapped by his head, but was pulled from beneath the beam and extracted through the tunnel. A third student could not be freed until an amputation was carried out by a civilian doctor assisted by another team of firefighters, through an access hole from above.

Mr Gyde was then called out to relieve rescue efforts at the Pyne Gould Corporation building. On arriving, he entered a tunnel approximately 30 centimetres high with two other firefighters and crawled for nearly ten metres before locating a trapped woman who had called for help on her cellphone. A large concrete beam blocked access to the woman preventing Gyde’s team from pulling her out. An aftershock struck as Gyde’s team moved to leave the tunnel during which the firefighters reported feeling concrete pressing simultaneously against their chests and backs. An Urban Search and Rescue team later extracted the woman by tunnelling down to her from a higher position. Mr Gyde was unable to use breathing apparatus or wear his helmet due to the cramped conditions at both buildings. Terry Gyde’s rescue efforts were carried out in adverse conditions of dense smoke and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Craig Munro JACKSON

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Senior Firefighter Craig Jackson was initially part of a group of firefighters on the southern side of the building working with small tools and clearing debris to assist in locating trapped persons. Jackson then joined another firefighter to enter holes in the side of the building and conduct a crawling search between the pancaked floors, looking for survivors. The space they searched was too confined for the firefighters to wear protective gear. The first survivor located was a badly injured woman hemmed into a tight space around 50 centimetres high, four metres into the building. The two firefighters shifted rubble out of the way allowing the woman to be rescued. A second man was located pinned underneath air-conditioning equipment and was freed using a hacksaw. Jackson joined a relief tunnelling team of firefighters who took over rescue efforts for a woman who had called for help on her cellphone. Jackson’s team tunnelled into a space of around 30 centimetres high, where Jackson’s team members reported feeling concrete pressing simultaneously on their chests and backs during an aftershock. The woman was trapped around five metres inside the tunnel, and could not be reached due to a large concrete beam. The woman was later rescued by an Urban Search and Rescue team who tunnelled down to her location. Craig Jackson’s rescue efforts were conducted in unstable and confined conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Danny Edward JOHANSON

Senior Constable, New Zealand Police

Citation

When the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on 22 February, Senior Constable Danny Johanson (now Sergeant) was deployed with a Police unit carrying advanced medical kits and specialist equipment into the inner-city area. The team used concrete cutting equipment at several sites and were at the forefront of several rescues at both the Pyne Gould Corporation and Canterbury Television buildings.

Senior Constable Johanson joined a firefighter and two civilian doctors in a rescue operation for a man who was trapped inside the PGC building. The man was in danger of bleeding to death with his legs pinned between a concrete pillar and a collapsed floor section. Senior Constable Johanson assisted with a complete double amputation of the man’s legs with a hacksaw and penknife. Inside the dark conditions of the collapsed building Senior Constable Johanson climbed into a confined area beside the trapped man, lying on a staircase with his feet above him in order to access the area to be operated on. The man was anesthetised with morphine and ketamine and tourniquets applied to both legs. The civilian doctor performing the amputation became fatigued and passed the hacksaw to Senior Constable Johanson, the second doctor and the firefighter who took turns in completing the operation. The man was loaded onto a tarpaulin and carried to ambulance staff waiting outside the building. Several aftershocks hit during the operation, threatening to compromise the area Senior Constable Johanson was working in. The man survived due to their efforts.

Michael Douglas KNEEBONE

Constable, New Zealand Police

Citation

When the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on 22 February, Constable Michael Kneebone was one of the first Police officers in attendance at the collapsed Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. Constable Kneebone worked with three other Police officers on the roof of the building to conduct several rescues amongst the rubble of the building’s lift tower. Their lives were at particular risk during the first hour when they were working under the precarious lift tower that was disintegrating with each aftershock. They were initially able to free a woman and two children. The Police officers then searched for audible tapping or voices and managed to pinpoint the locations of at least eight survivors. Where possible the officers dug down to the survivors they located and using stretchers sourced from the nearby Inland Revenue building carried the survivors to waiting medical personnel. They heard a woman calling for help in the burning area of the building and made several attempts to reach her from outside the building, with only wet clothing wrapped around their heads to protect against the heat and smoke. This occurred before the Fire Service had arrived on the scene. Due to a brief change in wind direction they were able to climb down inside the building, reach the woman and pull her free, but were engulfed by smoke and flames and unable to go further into the building to look for more survivors. The efforts of Michael Kneebone and the other Police officers rescued at least six people from the CTV site.

Joshua James KUMBAROFF

Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Firefighter Josh Kumbaroff was part of a team of firefighters who tunnelled into a space of around 30 centimetres between the building’s collapsed floors to rescue a trapped woman. The cramped conditions meant that no breathing apparatus or helmets could be worn. Kumbaroff was joined by two other firefighters and as the smallest team member he led the crawl through the tunnel, clearing a path through office equipment and furniture with hand tools. The woman had previously called for help on her cellphone and the firefighters arranged to have her cellphone called to help locate her. Kumbaroff located the woman trapped in a space behind an immovable large concrete beam. As the firefighters left the tunnel an aftershock hit and the team reported feeling concrete pressing simultaneously against their chests and backs. An engineer was consulted and advised that the beam was not safe to move. Urban Search and Rescue personnel had arrived by this point and a plan was formulated to tunnel down to the woman from above. Kumbaroff then crawled back to the woman to let her know how the USAR team planned to extricate her. The woman was rescued by USAR later that day. Josh Kumbaroff was a new and relatively inexperienced firefighter and this was his first experience of tunnelling. He carried out his rescue efforts in cramped and unstable conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Daniel James LEE

Constable, New Zealand Police

Citation

When the 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck Christchurch on 22 February, Mr Daniel Lee, formerly Constable Lee of the New Zealand Police, was one of the first Police officers in attendance at the collapsed Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. Constable Lee worked with three other Police officers on the roof of the building to conduct several rescues amongst the rubble of the building’s lift tower. Their lives were at particular risk during the first hour when they were working under the precarious lift tower that was disintegrating with each aftershock. They were initially able to free a woman and two children. The Police officers then searched for audible tapping or voices and managed to pinpoint the locations of at least eight survivors. Where possible the officers dug down to the survivors they located and using stretchers sourced from the nearby Inland Revenue building carried the survivors to waiting medical personnel. They heard a woman calling for help in the burning area of the building and made several attempts to reach her from outside the building with only wet clothing wrapped around their heads to protect against the heat and smoke. This occurred before the Fire Service had arrived on the scene. Due to a brief change in wind direction they were able to climb down inside the building, reach the woman and pull her free, but were engulfed by smoke and flames and unable to go further into the building to look for more survivors. The efforts of Daniel Lee and the other Police officers rescued at least six people from the CTV site.

Michael John LENNARD

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On the 22nd of February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Senior Firefighter Mike Lennard was part of a team of firefighters who tunnelled into a space of around 30 centimetres between the building’s collapsed floors to rescue a trapped woman. The cramped conditions meant that no breathing apparatus or helmets could be worn. Lennard followed two other firefighters into the tunnel and acted as a messenger, passing information between the Officer in Charge outside and the team inside the building. The trapped woman had previously called for help on her cellphone and Lennard arranged for the Officer in Charge to call her in order to help pinpoint her position. The woman was found trapped behind an immovable large concrete beam. As the firefighters left the tunnel an aftershock hit and the team reported feeling concrete pressing simultaneously against their chests and backs. An engineer was consulted and advised that the beam was not safe to move. Urban Search and Rescue personnel had arrived by this point and a plan was formulated to tunnel down to the woman from above. The woman was rescued by USAR later that day. Mike Lennard’s rescue efforts were carried out in cramped and unstable conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Simon James PAYTON

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Senior Firefighter Simon Payton initially worked for about two hours up a ladder with a kango hammer to create access holes into the building. Payton then moved to the rear of the building where he joined three other firefighters tunnelling to reach two women trapped beneath a balcony overhang. The firefighters had to break through layers of concrete with hand tools and grinders before tunnelling through office equipment, furniture and debris to reach trapped victims. The tunnel they created between the collapsed floors ranged from 30 to 70 centimetres high and did not allow for protective gear to be worn. One woman was located around five metres inside the tunnel. Payton moved into a void beside the woman to reassure her as another firefighter worked on clearing an access hole. The woman was eventually extricated with crushed toes. The team then located a second woman pinned to her chair by a concrete beam. The legs were cut from her chair allowing her to be rescued. After approximately four hours, Payton’s team was relieved by a second tunnelling team. Simon Payton’s rescue efforts were carried out in unstable and confined conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Richard Frank PLATT

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. In order to enter the office space of the collapsed building, Senior Firefighter Richard Platt and other firefighters had to break through layers of concrete with hand tools and grinders before tunnelling through office equipment, furniture and debris to reach trapped victims. Platt and a team of three other firefighters located two women trapped beneath a balcony overhang at the rear of the building. The tunnel they created between the collapsed floors ranged from 30 to 70 centimetres high and did not allow for protective gear to be worn. One woman was located around five metres inside the tunnel. The firefighters were able to clear an access hole and extract her, with crushed toes. The team then located a second woman pinned to her chair by a concrete beam. The legs were cut from her chair allowing her to be rescued. When he was not actively tunnelling Platt provided support to trapped persons nearby. After approximately four hours, Platt’s team was relieved by a second tunnelling team. Richard Platt’s tunnelling efforts were carried out in unstable and confined conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Paul John RODWELL

Station Officer, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the six-storey Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. The fourth floor had been compressed to a space of approximately 60 centimetres high. Tunnels were created into the fourth floor to gain access to a number of survivors trapped inside. Station Officer Paul Rodwell worked with other firefighters in alternating tunnelling teams of two. The firefighters were unable to use breathing apparatus or wear helmets due to the cramped conditions. Debris had to be passed backwards along the bodies of the rescuers and down the tunnel as there was no room to turn around. Firefighters were stationed at the tunnel entrance so that when there were significant aftershocks they could quickly pull the tunnellers out by their feet. Eventually the team of tunnellers, led by Rodwell, located a small group of students trapped under a beam. Two bodies had to be removed before the students could be reached. One student was trapped by her ankle and it took a long time to free her, but amputation was avoided. A second student was trapped by his head, but was pulled from beneath the beam and extracted through the tunnel. A third student could not immediately be freed and an amputation was carried out by a civilian doctor assisted by another team of firefighters. Rodwell assisted in the extraction of the third student once the amputation was completed. The rescue efforts of Paul Rodwell and his team were carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Scott Martin SHADBOLT

Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Firefighter Scott Shadbolt was tasked with formulating an extraction plan for a man discovered trapped inside the building, in danger of bleeding to death with his legs crushed between a concrete pillar and a collapsed floor section. Firefighter Shadbolt was assisted by a Police constable and two civilian doctors in performing a complete double amputation of the trapped man’s legs using a hacksaw and a penknife. The man was anesthetised with morphine and ketamine and tourniquets were applied to his legs. The civilian doctor performing the amputation became fatigued and the hacksaw was passed between the Police officer, the second doctor and Firefighter Shadbolt, who was in a better position to complete the operation. The man was placed in a tarpaulin and carried to waiting ambulance staff outside the building. Firefighter Shadbolt then continued on to create further access holes into the building and assist with rescue efforts. Scott Shadbolt performed an operation with no prior medical experience in unstable and confined conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks, resulting in the trapped man’s survival.

Steven David SMYLIE

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. In order to enter the office space of the collapsed building Senior Firefighter Steven Smylie and other firefighters had to break through layers of concrete with hand tools and grinders before tunnelling through office equipment, furniture and debris to reach trapped victims. Smylie and a team of three other firefighters located two women trapped beneath a balcony overhang at the rear of the building. The tunnel they created between the collapsed floors ranged from 30 to 70 centimetres high and did not allow for protective gear to be worn. One woman was located around five metres inside the tunnel. The firefighters were able to clear an access hole and extract her, with crushed toes. The team then located a second woman pinned to her chair by a concrete beam. The legs were cut from her chair allowing her to be rescued. After approximately four hours, Smylie’s team was relieved by a second tunnelling team. Steven Smylie’s tunnelling efforts were carried out in unstable and confined conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Cory John STEWART

Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Firefighter Cory Stewart carried out search and rescue efforts inside the second floor of the building with a fellow firefighter. The space they searched was too confined for the firefighters to wear helmets or protective clothing. Stewart made use of his building background to make sound judgements on which parts of the collapsed building were safe to move. Stewart had heard two survivors call out near his location. The first survivor located was an injured woman hemmed into a tight space around 50 centimetres high, four metres into the building. The two firefighters shifted rubble out of the way allowing the woman to be rescued. A second injured man was located pinned behind air-conditioning equipment and was freed using a hacksaw. Stewart also tunnelled into different areas of the collapsed structure to try to establish access points. He relayed this information back to the officer in charge who could direct resources accordingly. The rescue efforts of Cory Stewart were carried out in unstable, confined conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks and falling masonry.

Anthony Wayne TAMAKEHU

Citation

On 22 February 2011, Tony Tamakehu was near the Pyne Gould Corporation building in Christchurch when a 6.3 magnitude earthquake struck and the building collapsed. Mr Tamakehu owns The Chainman, a supplier of specialist lifting and rigging equipment, and sub-contracts to Smith Crane and Construction. Staff from Smith Crane and Construction brought cranes and other equipment suitable for concrete slab removal and the clearing of debris. Concrete slabs were broken into pieces for removal and a large enough hole was created for Mr Tamakehu and other Smith Cranes staff to gain access to the collapsed building. They used their expert knowledge of craneage to open up holes, progressively going down through the pancaked floors of the building. As each level was opened, Mr Tamakehu crawled into the voids in the building and began systematically checking each floor for survivors, boring through debris, despite the threat of aftershocks. He was able to locate and assist several people during a time-consuming search in tight, dark conditions.

Mr Tamakehu entered confined spaces in the Pyne Gould Corporation building without knowing whether they were stable and without thought for his personal safety. He contributed to the location and rescue of several trapped people. He continued to offer assistance at the PGC and Canterbury Television buildings for several weeks following the earthquake, recovering bodies and performing other vital tasks.

Mark David WHITTAKER

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, resulting in the collapse of the six-storey Canterbury Television building. A fire had ignited in the lower levels of the building, complicating rescue efforts. The fourth floor had been compressed to a space of approximately 60 centimetres high. Tunnels were created into the fourth floor to gain access to a number of survivors trapped inside. Senior Firefighter Mark Whittaker worked with three other firefighters in alternating tunnelling teams of two. The firefighters were unable to use breathing apparatus or wear helmets due to the cramped conditions. Debris had to be passed backwards along the bodies of the rescuers and down the tunnel as there was no room to turn around. Firefighters were stationed at the tunnel entrance so that when there were significant aftershocks they could quickly pull the tunnellers out by their feet. Eventually the team of tunnellers, including Whittaker, located a small group of students trapped under a beam. Two bodies had to be removed before the students could be reached. One student was trapped by her ankle and it took a long time to free her, but amputation was avoided. Another student was trapped by his head, but was pulled from beneath the beam and extracted through the tunnel. A third student could not be freed until an amputation was carried out by a civilian doctor assisted by another team of firefighters, through an access hole from above. The rescue efforts of Mark Whittaker and his team were carried out in dense smoke from the fire and under the constant threat of aftershocks.

Michael David YEATES

Senior Firefighter, New Zealand Fire Service

Citation

On 22 February 2011 a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck Christchurch, causing the collapse of the Pyne Gould Corporation building, trapping around 30 people inside. Senior Firefighter Mike Yeates worked with another firefighter to tunnel into the second floor in an attempt to gain access to trapped victims. The space they searched was too confined for the firefighters to wear protective clothing. Yeates had heard two survivors call out near his location. The first survivor located was an injured woman hemmed into a tight space around 50 centimetres high, four metres into the building. The two firefighters shifted rubble out of the way allowing the woman to be rescued. A second injured man was located pinned behind air-conditioning equipment and was freed using a hacksaw. Yeates and two other firefighters worked for 90 minutes on creating an access hole between the first and second floors. The access hole allowed for a man trapped under a table on the first floor to be extricated. The rescue efforts of Mike Yeates were carried out in unstable, confined conditions under the constant threat of aftershocks and falling masonry.

Dated this 23rd day of June 2014

MICHAEL WEBSTER, Clerk of the Executive Council.


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