Christchurch terror attack: Victims wouldn't have survived if taken to hospital sooner - new coroner's report

Al Noor Mosque.
Al Noor Mosque. Photo credit: Newshub.

Those who lost their lives in the Christchurch terror attacks would not have survived if they were taken to hospital sooner, a new report says.

The coroner's office has released the police's evidential overview into the March 2019 attack in which 51 worshippers were killed.

In the report, a pathologist says 42 of those killed at Masjid Al Noor suffered inevitably fatal injuries which meant they would not have survived had they been taken to Christchurch Hospital emergency department sooner.

"The remaining person killed had received injuries which in their totality the pathologist considered to be rapidly lethal at the scene, and therefore not survivable," the report says.

Six of the seven killed at the Linwood Islamic Centre could not have survived according to the pathologist while one, the seventh person, had a pattern of injury considered rapidly fatal at the scene. Surgical intervention may have been able to salvage the injuries but only in circumstances where the victim was virtually at the hospital at the time the injuries were received.

The report outlines how members of the public were the first to respond to the attack, putting victims in their cars and taking them to the hospital at the same time as police arrived on the scene.

Having entered the masjid, in tandem with the clearance process set out at paragraph police immediately tended to the wounded, triaged those persons, and removed them for further care as soon as practicable, the report says.

It states that ambulance staff members were granted access to the Al Noor Mosque four minutes after arriving at the scene.

Members of the Muslim community told the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the attack they believed medical staff took too long to respond to the injured.

Chief coroner Judge Deborah Marshall wrote to victims' families last month to offer access to as much information as they want.

She said together with the police she would make two packages of information available to families.

The information will include photos of the victims as they entered the mosque for prayers on March 15, a diagram of where each victim was when they died, and a forensic pathologist report.

Flowers and a New Zealand flag in support at a mosque after the Christchurch terrorist attack.
Photo credit: Getty

Judge Marshall said families could write to her to request any further details or to highlight any issues which they consider had not been resolved by the Royal Commission of Inquiry report.

"This is the purpose of the Coroners Court - to establish the facts of how someone died and, where possible, to make recommendations for how similar deaths could be prevented in the future.

"If there are any issues that cannot be resolved through this information sharing process, an inquest may follow. I will inform families of this decision when the time comes," Judge Marshall said.

RNZ