Essex firefighters on stanby to fly to Christchurch after earthquake

A RESCUE team, made up of firefighters that serve Loughton and Buckhurst Hill, has been put on standby to fly to New Zealand to help after a devastating earthquake hit the city of Christchurch last night.

The Essex International Search and Rescue Team (ISAR) will find out later this afternoon if they will make the 22 hour flight.

Six Essex firefighters are expected to be sent out to help rescue people trapped in collapsed buildings.

The UK ISAR travelled to Indonesia last October after a series of earthquakes hit the country.

The specialists, drawn from 13 fire services, are on call 24 hours a day, 365 days a year to respond to disasters anywhere in the world.

Up to 150 people are feared dead in Christchurch with more than 200 people trapped.