Search for trapped abandoned at NZ office building

February 23, 2011 09:59

CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand — Numerous foreign students could be among the dead in an office building that collapsed in New Zealand's earthquake, police said Wednesday, adding they were "100 percent certain" no one trapped in the rubble was alive.

Authorities called off rescue operations at the Canterbury Television building, where an unknown number of people were working when the quake struck Tuesday. Those trapped were thought to include as many as 10 Japanese students attending a language school on the premises and 15 employees from a TV station.

"We don't believe this site is now survivable," police operations commander Inspector Dave Lawry told reporters, adding the tower of the building that remains standing is in danger of collapse, weakened by quake aftershocks and fire.

A number of overseas students were in the building when it toppled and had not been located, he said, adding that he could not give an exact number.

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