Irishman feared trapped under building following New Zealand earthquake
17 Irish people still unaccounted for in Christchurch
A 40-year-old Kerryman has been confirmed missing in New Zealand after Tuesday’s earthquake in the city of Christchurch.
The family of the Irishman who was living in New Zealand have confirmed that he was working in the PGG Building in the city when it collapsed during Tuesday’s earthquake.
A native of Kerry, the man hails from Abbeydorney in Co. Kerry, where his mother still resides.
He had made the move to New Zealand from London with his wife and their two-year-old son last September and began working in the PGG Building as an accountant shortly before Christmas.
His wife is expecting their second child in May. There has been no contact with the man since the building collaped last Tuesday.
Speaking to RTE News, members of the missing man’s family in Abbeydorney said they remain hopeful and that they are praying he is safe.
So far there are a total of 17 Irish people unaccounted for.
On Wednesday it was confirmed that Monaghan man Owen McKenna from Co. Monaghan had been killed. He was in his early 40s and married with two children.
Meanwhile, two Dublin sisters living in Christchurch have told of their lucky escape from the center of the devastating earthquake.
Leah Heron, who works in Christchurch City Council was about to go on her break when the tremors began.
"The whole building started to shake. I stood up to run but it was too strong," she told the “Herald.”
"I got underneath my desk ... computers and filing cabinets fell to the ground, the windows were smashed.
"It lasted about 30 seconds and then everyone started to run for the exit. It was chaotic. We went down the fire escape and there were bricks falling everywhere.
"About a minute later, a violent aftershock happened. More buildings started to crumble. We just ran as fast as we could into open space. There were whole buildings flattened in the centre of town. It was very still and quiet for a few seconds ... just horrific," she added.
Heron’s sister Emily, 27, was at home when the earthquake struck and says that he entire building began to shake.
"I had just had lunch and sat down on the couch and the house started shaking. I jumped up and ran into the bedroom and got into the wardrobe," Emily says.
"I can't even remember doing it. It was so scary. When it stopped, I tried to go out the back door but it was jammed. The streets were filled with water and sewage and whole cars were swallowed up."
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