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Fire official apologises over CTV rescue

Wednesday 5 Dec 2012 10:17 a.m.

A senior fire service official has made a full apology to the families of eight people who died when rescue teams failed to locate them, after the collapse of Christchurch’s CTV building.

Deputy national commander Paul McGill said at a coroner’s inquest yesterday that he took full responsibility for inadequately preparing his staff for an event like the CTV collapse.

The building was destroyed in the February 2011 earthquake, killing 115 people.

Mr McGill said the fire service would be working with Urban Search and Rescue and police on improving understanding of command and functions at incidents.

Alec Cventanov, whose wife Tamara Cventanova died more than 12 hours after the initial collapse, had previously told the inquest that he wanted rescue services to learn from his wife’s death.

Speaking on Mr Cventanov’s belhalf, lawyer Nigel Hampton QC told Radio New Zealand yesterday that the apology was a turning point.

"For a long time Mr Cvetanov felt he was a voice alone in saying what he's been saying,” he said.

“The sincere acknowledgment made by Mr McGill now has touched Mr Cvetanov and he wants to acknowledge that as being a turning point in his mind."

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