Sleek US Air Force jet stops off

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JUST STOPPING BY: A US Air Force jet parked at Christchurch International Airport.

The identity of the mystery passenger of a United States Air Force jet at Christchurch airport has been revealed.

Plane-spotters had a field day this week with the sighting of a sleek, sparsely-marked Gulfstream Aerospace jet at Christchurch International Airport.

The plane, reserved for high-ranking dignitaries and military staff, brought General William M Fraser III, commander of the US transportation command, Scott Air Force Base, the US Embassy confirmed today.

The general is on his way to Antarctica for a routine familiarisation tour for US Government officials who have Antarctic program responsibilities.

Fraser is travelling with a party of civilian and military officials and is expected to be on the ice for three to four days.

US websites say the aircraft is capable of cruising at 51,000 feet. Features include enhanced weather radar, autopilot and head-up display for the pilot.

The Air Force equips the C-37A with a basic crew of two pilots, one flight engineer, one communications systems operator and a flight attendant. It can carry 12 passengers.

Fraser has extensive war and humanitarian relief operational experience. During Operation Enduring Freedom he led an intelligence fusion organisation that provided direct support to combat staff.

Source: Stuff co nz

New Year off to a shaky start

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Christchurch endures 41 quakes in 24 hours

Christchurch is still suffering aftershocks in the New Year, with a swarm of large shakes hitting the city in the past day. file photo / Geoff Sloan

Christchurch continues to be rocked by aftershocks this afternoon, with a staggering 41 earthquakes recorded in the Canterbury region over the past 24 hours.

A swarm of large aftershocks, including a violent magnitude 5.5, rattled the city overnight and knocked out power to thousands of homes.

There have been no reports of significant damage or injury, but it was a sleepless night for most residents as 14 aftershocks – all above 3.3 magnitude – struck at regular intervals between 10.31pm and 9.01am.

The latest shake was a magnitude 3.9 at 12.28pm, at a depth of 15km and located 20km east of Christchurch.

Popular website Quakelive ranked the 5.5 quake at 5.45am as the 11th largest to hit the city since the 7.1 magnitude tremor on September 4, 2010. The mag 6.0 December 23 shake is ranked fourth biggest.

Source: NZ Herald Read more

Early morning quakes rattle Christchurch

More Christchurch residents could be leaving town for good if the quakes continue.

A swarm of large aftershocks which rocked Christchurch overnight and knocked out power to thousands of homes has not caused any new damage to the rattled city, authorities say.

The shaky start to what Cantabrians hoped would be a calm 2012 included a violent magnitude-5.5 quake at 5.45am felt across the region.

Geonet reported two earthquakes striking at 5.45am, just seconds apart, and of similar magnitude, which would account for the surging nature of the early-morning jolt.

It was centred 20km north-east of the port of Lyttelton at a depth of 15km and follows a similar pattern to the latest bout of aftershocks kick-started by the swarm of December 23 shakes, which included a mag-6.0.

Between 10.31pm last night, when there was a mag-3.4 shake, and 9.01am this morning, Christchurch has been rocked by a reported 14 aftershocks – all above 3.3-mag.

After the 5.45am shake, power was cut to 10,000 homes across several eastern suburbs, including Shirley, Burwood, Dallington, Richmond, and Spencerville.

A spokesman for Orion Energy said power was restored at 7.41am.

Source: The Star Read more

New Zealand’s Christchurch rocked by earthquakes

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A series of earthquakes has shaken the New Zealand city of Christchurch, sending residents rushing from buildings and causing minor damage.

The first 5.8 quake struck at 1358 local time (0058 GMT), the US Geological Survey said. Another of similar magnitude hit 80 minutes later.

Dozens of people suffered minor injuries but only 19 were admitted to hospital.

It comes 10 months after swathes of the city were destroyed by another quake.

Friday’s first earthquake struck 26km (16 miles) north-east of the city at a depth of 4.7km. The second large event, with a magnitude estimated at 5.9, was in almost exactly the same place, the USGS said.

Aftershocks rolled on throughout the afternoon, several of them with a magnitude greater than 5, according to New Zealand’s GeoNet.

Buildings were damaged, power supplies cut and the city’s airport had to be closed temporarily.

There were rockfalls in some coastal suburbs of the city and the authorities have warned people to stay away from hillside areas.

Power supplies were severed to 26,000 residents but they have now been restored to around 13,000.

Residents have been told to boil their drinking water in case it has been contaminated by sewage.

Witnesses told local media shoppers ran from buildings as goods fell off shelves.

Some shopping centres were evacuated and several supermarkets remain closed on one of the busiest days of the year.

‘Not again’

Police are checking the city for damage and Prime Minister John Key is being updated on developments, his spokesman said.

Vehicle trapped in pothole caused by liquefaction Sink holes and flooding have been caused by liquefaction in some suburbs

Christchurch Mayor Bob Parker said events had left people shaken.

“Psychologically this is a tough one. People are outside buildings on streets weeping, I’m told.”

“You can just sense the sense of ‘not again, how much longer’,” he told the Newstalk ZB radio network.

Big potholes have appeared in the roads in the Bexley district.

A Radio New Zealand reporter, Bridget Mills, said in places the tarmac felt “like jelly”, and there was fresh flooding caused by liquefaction.

Source: BBC News

Swarm of quakes hits Christchurch

LATEST: A swarm of quakes – including a magnitude 6 and three at or above magnitude 5 – have hit Christchurch, toppling already damaged buildings, injuring 60 residents and disrupting power, phone services and retailers.

The first quake – magnitude 5.8 quake, 8km deep and centred 20km north east of Lyttelton – struck at 1.58pm, GeoNet said. It was followed by a magnitude 5.3 quake at 2.06pm, a magnitude 6 quake – the largest – at 3.18pm and a 5.0, just 10 km deep, at 4.50pm.

The quakes were felt as far south as Queenstown and as far north as Lower Hutt, according to GeoNet. People in Greymouth, Ashburton, Dunedin, Hanmer Springs and Oamaru also felt them.

Orion chief executive Rob Jamieson said power had been restored to rural areas, including Springston and Dallington by 6pm. In New Brighton only about 5000 people were still without power, though the network remained fragile, particularly in the New Brighton area.

Source: The Press Read more

Air NZ plane landed as Christchurch earthquake hit

Christchurch airport is closed today following a huge earthquake in New Zealand's South Island.

An Air New Zealand plane touched down in Christchurch Airport at the exact moment the magnitude 6.3 earthquake hit.

One passenger on the plane, Robbyn Story of Raglan, spoke to Fletch & Vaughan on The Edge Radio Station in New Zealand, and described what it was like as the plane landed into the earthquake.

“It was creepy as… as the plane came down, you could see all the windows in the terminal just rolling, and all the shuttles that go out to the plane were in the tarmac just rolling.

“Somebody shouted out ‘oh my god, it’s an earthquake!'”

“We came down and couldn’t get out, and there was a big shake while we were still in the plane. Then we sat there for an hour.

New Zealand Labour Party opposition leader Phil Goff, evacuated from Christchurch Airport, said on Twitter, “Paintings falling down, plaster coming off of the walls, roof tiles falling down – scary stuff!”

Source: Australian Business Traveller Read more

Christchurch, New Zealand

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Catholic Cathedral on Barbados St & Moorhouse Ave corner

Saturday marked the anniversary of the series of earthquakes that devastated Christchurch. Four major shocks and rumblings in between. There was even a 4.9 last week along with many minor tremors.

One year on and the city has changed.

Many city blocks are now just empty lots.

Major buildings have been condemned, historic buildings damaged severely, many homes destroyed and parts of the city have now been deemed to be uninhabitable and are not permitted to be rebuilt.

Thinking of the people at this time.

AV, an ex-pat from Christchurch.



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