Loughton firefighter with New Zealand earthquake rescue team

A LOUGHTON firefighter flew out to New Zealand yesterday with a specialist rescue team to help find survivors of the devastating earthquake which hit the city of Christchurch on Monday.

Station Officer Len Cleary, from Loughton Fire Station in Old Station Road, left on the 22-hour flight yesterday evening with The Essex International Search and Rescue Team (ISAR), veterans of the Indonesian earthquakes last October. They will arrive in New Zealand this evening.

The six Essex firefighters have been sent to help rescue people trapped in collapsed buildings.

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.

So far 75 people have died in the earthquake in the country’s second biggest city, and 300 are missing.