Christchurch earthquake: The missing

Deborah Roberts. Photo / Supplied
Deborah Roberts. Photo / Supplied

DEBORAH ROBERTS

Kate Busson was on the phone to her sister, talking about what she was going to have for lunch, when the quake struck.

The everyday conversation is the last time she has heard from Ms Roberts, an accountant at King's Education - a language school on the third floor of the CTV building.

"It is just agonising ... She was not only my sister but my best friend," Ms Busson said.

She is hanging on to the hope that her sister will be found alive in the building or that perhaps Ms Roberts is injured in hospital and not able to give her name.

"But as time goes by it is getting grim."

HEIDI BERG

The 36-year-old was teaching an English-language class on the third floor of the CTV building when the quake struck.

She has not been heard from since.

Her friend Jen Wilson has known Ms Berg since their school days at Belfast Primary and described her as a caring woman.

She said Ms Berg was in Japan when the September quake struck and phoned family and friends straight away to make sure everyone was safe.

But this quake has been different.

"I didn't hear anything and I knew straight away that there was no hope," Ms Wilson said. She said Ms Berg loved looking after her nieces and nephews and "would do anything for anybody".

"She was just amazing. She helped me and my husband out and never expected anything in return," Ms Wilson said.

GILLIAN SAYERS

Nik Warrensson says the 43-year-old King's Education teacher is one of the sweetest people he's ever met.

He said his ex-partner would have likely made sure others were safe before looking to her own safety when the quake hit.

"Gillian is the loveliest, sweetest, kindest thing. She'd worked [at the school] for several years, she just liked helping people. She put them before herself."

She was also well known in the city as a staunch animal rights activist, who didn't believe people needed to eat meat. But she wasn't one to push her opinions on anyone, he said.

"I'd sit there eating my steak, but she respected others' views."

Ms Sayers was born in Liverpool making her a proud "Scouser" but came out to New Zealand in 1974 and had a wide circle of friends.

PHIL COPPEARD

Suzanne Craig knows time is counting down for her missing husband, who she believes was on a bus headed through the central city when the quake hit.

But she's pleading with anyone who may have seen the British-born 41-year-old, who left their Redcliffs home on the No 3 Red Bus, to get in touch with ther.

"My best guess was that he was in the central city. I've called the police, done the Red Cross, I've been to the hospital. I've been trying and trying his cellphone which was going to his voice mail but is now dead," Ms Craig said.

Mr Coppeard, who is about 1.82m tall, has a stocky build and sideburns. He was wearing dark blue jeans, black rimmed glasses and was probably listening to music on his iPhone. He also carried a backpack and has a curved little finger.

CHRISTIAN (CRISTIANA) CARAZO-CHANDLER

Richard Chandler says his cousin's Christchurch family are globetrotters who are usually spread widely across the world.

But during this past holiday season the family made a special effort to spend it together, said Mr Chalmers, a flight attendant.

Mr Carazo-Chandler, 35, a teacher at King's Education, had also taught in the United Arab Emirates, Korea and Indonesia.

"He was a very wonderful guy who loved travel like me. I've come home for this to be [here] for the family."

Mr Carazo-Chandler's mother, Faye, normally lives in France but happened to be home. Her son was born in Spain and moved to New Zealand when he was a toddler.

His father, Pedro, owns a restaurant in the thick of the devastated CBD.

BRIAN TAYLOR

The family of Brian Taylor, the managing director for King's Education, are slowly coming to terms with the fact he may not be coming home.

Yesterday his family were coming together to support each other, with one adult child flying in from Australia.

A family friend said Mr Taylor's wife was on her way to a family briefing, to get an update on the situation.

But they were preparing for the worst. "It's very difficult. But they've readied themselves for bad news," the woman said.

She said Mr Taylor, a well-respected athlete and a trained runner, spent 22 years teaching science at Lincoln High School.

He was also a lecturer at the Christchurch College of Education and the director of the NZ Science Centre for 15 years.

TAMARA LIA HARCA

Tamara Harca was teaching her English language class at King's Education in the CTV building when the earthquake hit.

She has not been heard from since.

Originally from Romania, Mrs Harca came out to New Zealand seven years ago with her husband and one of her sons.

They now have an anxious wait.

"It's a killer for us, a real disaster," said son Sebastian.

"We have never witnessed something like this before. It is probably the darkest day in New Zealand's history."

Mr Harca's brother Nicolae is back in Romania.

He said he was keeping up to date through the King's Education website.

"I have no news," Nicolae Harca said.

ELSA TORRES De FROOD

Every time there's a noise outside, Ada Li rushes outside to check whether her friend Elsa Torres De Frood has come home. "I always think that it's her car. I get up and go have a look, but she's not there," Ms Li says, crying.

Her roommate and former English teacher is one of many people unaccounted for since the earthquake struck.

The director of studies at King's Education, Mrs De Frood teaches English to many international students.

Ms Li described her friend as a woman who went out of her way to help others and a devoted wife and mother.

Originally from Peru, Mrs De Frood's family lives in Perth. For the past few years she has travelled back and forth for her job. Her husband and adult twin daughters are due in Christchurch today.

TETAKI (WALLY) TAIRAKENA

Donna Tairakena met her husband, now 60, in a Christian band 30 years ago. She didn't think much of him at the time she joked, but she soon changed her tune.

"We were good friends and he asked me out one time. I had no romantic interest in him at all but I went out with him and a week later I'd fallen in love with him."

Months later they were married.

Before taking up teaching the Tainui man had worked at freezing works and on garbage trucks. But he'd always had a knack for breaking things down and making them simple.

She said she'd dearly miss her best mate, who was a loving and affectionate man who appreciated his culture.

Simon Hirst said the King's Education teacher was well loved by his students.

"His heart is totally with kids."

- NZ Herald

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