The Christchurch Earthquake inquest has heard how members of the public battled to save a man who died in the PGC building.

Carey Bird was an Australian based forensic accountant working in the PGC building when the quake struck.

A post-mortem examination shows the 48-year-old died from massive crush injuries.

Detective Inspector Paul Kench has told the inquest Mr Bird was found alive and conscious by a member of the public.

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"Rescue efforts throughout the afternoon to free the deceased were unsuccessful due to the size of the heavy building material pinning the deceased. Mr McCormack and others remained with the deceased during this time, providing comfort and support to the trapped man," he told the inquest.

Mr Kench says despite extensive efforts to save him, Carey Bird died at the scene.

- Newstalk ZB