TODAY |

Paramedic recalls helping pull person alive from CTV building, 10 years on from Christchurch quake

St John paramedic Sean Lester was a volunteer when he rushed to the CTV building when the deadly earthquake struck 10 years ago.

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St John paramedic Sean Lester was a volunteer when he rushed to the CTV building when the deadly quake struck. Source: Breakfast

He’s left with stark memories, including pulling the bags of young children from the building.

“That of course was something very challenging cause my wife was at the time taking our then three-and-half week old twins out for the very first venture away from home.”

“She was travelling through the CBD at the time.”

Lester wasn’t on duty 10 years ago when the quake struck but he threw himself into harm’s way to save people.

“I was working not far from here, around the corner actually, in my fulltime job as an electrician.”

Lester said he quickly went with others “into the CTV building for a number of hours, through until after dark sometime” after the quake struck at 12.51pm.

He managed to help get one person out of the building alive.

Reflecting on his efforts 10 years later, Lester said it was important that he and other emergency services personnel were satisfied they did their best.

“I don’t think anyone looks back and is completely satisfied with all their actions, you’ve got to be satisfied that you did the best you could with the best of intentions and that you hopefully helped in some small way.”

“Everyone using what skills they have at the time and I think you just got to trust that that’s what you did and that’s all you could have done at the time.”