Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Irish hero pulls two people from collapsed building in New Zealand

An injured person is carried by rescue workers after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand (AP)
An injured person is carried by rescue workers after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand (AP)
Eighteen year-old Libby Manning cries after being told there is no chance of survivors in CTV building in Christchurch, New Zealand , Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011 in Sydney, after the city was hit by a 6.3 earthquake Tuesday, Feb 22. Miss Manning's mother Donna, was trapped in the destroyed building.(AP Photo/Rob Griffith)
Police use a sniffer dog to search for people in destroyed buildings in Christchurch, New Zealand (AP)
Members from the Grampian Fire and Rescue Service prepare to join the search-and-rescue effort in New Zealand
A wounded woman is helped by others following a strong earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.
Rescue workers sift through the debris of a collapsed building after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday Tuesday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA, David Wethey) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
Two men look at a damaged building in Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday killing and trapping dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA/Ashburton Guardian, Kirsty Graham) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
Liquification bubbles to the surface in front of a damaged house in Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday killing and trapping dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA/Ashburton Guardian, Kirsty Graham) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
A group of people travel with Glacier Explorers to see one of the many icebergs that caved into Tasman Lake as a result of the 6.3 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, February 22, 2011. The quake hit at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA, Denis Callesen) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
Debris litter central Christchurch, New Zealand, following an earthquake Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday killing at least 65 people and trapping dozens in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Mark Mitchell) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
Rescue workers block off a collapsed building in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011.
A collapsed building is barricaded following an earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday Tuesday, killing and trapping dozens in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
People are evacuated from a health clinic in Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday Tuesday, killing and trapping dozens in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
Rescue workers work to extinguish a fire at a collapsed building in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday killing and trapping dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Mark Mitchell) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
In this image made from video run by New Zealand's TVNZ, people stand in the rubble of collapsed building following a strong earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The strong, 6.3-magnitude earthquake rocked the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch on Tuesday, seriously injuring people and damaging buildings throughout the city. (AP Photo/TVNZ via Associated Press Television News) NEW ZEALAND OUT, TV OUT
In this image made from video run by New Zealand's TVNZ, a wounded woman is helped by others following a strong earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude earthquake rocked the southern New Zealand city of Christchurch on Tuesday, seriously injuring people and damaging buildings throughout the city. (AP Photo/TVNZ via Associated Press Television News) NEW ZEALAND OUT, TV OUT
Rescue workers search for victims after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA, David Wethey) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
Rescue workers climb onto the collapsed Pyne Gould Guinness Building in central Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22 2011. A powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday killing at least 65 people and trapping dozens in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Mark Mitchell) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
Cars are abandoned on a flooded street after a strong earthquake in suburban Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The powerful earthquake collapsed buildings at the height of a busy workday killing at least 65 people and trapping dozens in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/New Zealand Herald, Mark Mitchell) NEW ZEALAND OUT, AUSTRALIA OUT
An injured women is dug out of rubble by rescue workers after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday Tuesday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA, David Wethey) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
Bodies are covered after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA, David Wethey) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
An injured person is carried by rescue workers after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday Tuesday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA, David Wethey) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
Debris crush a car outside the Christchurch Catholic Cathedral after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand, Tuesday, Feb. 22, 2011. The 6.3-magnitude quake hit at the height of a busy workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing dozens of people in one of the country's worst natural disasters. (AP Photo/NZPA, David Wethey) NEW ZEALAND OUT, NO ARCHIVES, NO SALES
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Rescuers search for survivors in a collapsed building in Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Crushed cars are seen in a car parking building on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
Rescue workers climb onto the collapsed Pyne Gould Guinness Building in central Christchurch, New Zealand (AP)
Rescue workers sift through the debris of a collapsed building after an earthquake rocked Christchurch, New Zealand (AP)
The spire of the iconic stone Christchurch Cathedral toppled into a central city square during the earthquake (AP)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: A smashed car is seen in a car parking building on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Collapsed buildings and debris along Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: A man runs for cover on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 23: Bus covered in building debris on February 23, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: A man lies injured on Manchester street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Collapsed buildings in Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Cars covered in building debris on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 23: Rescue workers search for survivors on February 23, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Collapsed buildings and debris are seen on Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Collapsed buildings in Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Rescue workers search for survivors through debris on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Collapsed buildings and debris are seen along Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Rescue workers search for survivors on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Rescuers search for survivors in a collapsed building in Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Rescuers search for survivors in a collapsed building in Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)
CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - FEBRUARY 22: Rescuers search for survivors in a collapsed building in Manchester Street on February 22, 2011 in Christchurch, New Zealand. The 6.3 magnitude earthquake - an aftershock of the 7.1 magnitude quake on September 4 - struck 20km southeast of Christchurch at around 1pm local time, with initial reports suggesting damage and fatalities far exceeding the initial quake. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)

An Irishman was being hailed as a hero yesterday after pulling two people from a collapsed building following the earthquake in New Zealand.

Construction worker Paddy McGowan (26), from Killygordon, Co Donegal, was in an internet cafe in the centre of Christchurch when the earthquake struck. He described the scene as akin to the movie 'Independence Day', as pavements started moving up from the road and drains started sinking.

The experienced lifeguard said he ran to the aid of people trapped beneath rubble in a nearby shop, pulling a woman and man on to the street.

"We pulled the man out. He was unconscious. We kept doing CPR on him but the guy had passed away," he said yesterday.

Minutes later, he alerted police to the smell of gas and remained at the scene, preventing people from going down the street until police closed it off.

Mr McGowan said he had only been in New Zealand a month. His proud father, Donegal councillor Patrick McGowan Snr, told the Irish Independent he was delighted and relieved that his son was okay.

Meanwhile, Dublin-born mother-of-two Natasha Massey (41) described how she had to escape from her house. "We had to run for our lives to open ground," she said.

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