I’ve already posted a couple of photos of the earthquake damage to the Smiths City car park.
I drove past this about 2 minutes after the February earthquake as I headed down Colombo Street to exit the city.
Casually glancing to the left as I waited in traffic, I was shocked by the incredible sight of the car park bridge that is used for both Smiths City and the Yellow Pages office in central Christchurch. This was pretty much when the enormity of the earthquake hit me.
Just after this, I was diverted under a similar bridge by a confused city worker.
It goes without saying that I put my foot down while driving under the bridge.
I took a couple of photos out of the window and have since wondered whether anyone was hurt inside that car park. It’s rare to be walking around a car park in the early afternoon and not see others walking around that same car park. I consoled myself and others by saying that you can clearly see that the car park layers have crushed the roofs of the cars but have left enough space for someone to crouch down. Hopefully no one was in their cars at the time and all managed to escape ok.
Just yesterday, a contact through my Flickr account (you can see my earthquake photos set here – they’re available for public use on a Creative Commons license) posted a comment on the Smiths City car park photo linking to a video that I hadn’t seen before.
It shows first-hand what the car park looks like between those layers, along with the incredible damage done to cars on the roof that were almost split in half by large columns that crushed them.
The video shows an Australian rescue team that were the first to get into the car park. One of them has a camera strapped to his helmet as they crawl around the cars, looking for survivors and taking down number plates so that the police can get in touch with the car owners’ families.
At one point you see a number of Yellow Pages company cars but you also see a view of their office which looks relatively unharmed thankfully.
New: Aerial Photos of Smiths City Car Park
Since making the post, I have found new aerial satellite photos that were taken of Christchurch a couple of days after the quake. I managed to find the Smiths City car park building and, while you can’t see that the levels have collapsed on each other, you can see the huge concrete beams that fell on the cars that were on the roof.
Almost every one of them has perfectly hit a car. I can’t quite figure out where these beams are from – either they were simply standing in thin are on the very top level of the car park and were pointing into the air, or they’ve actually pushed up through the floor of the top level as the top level came down and they’ve then toppled over.
You can see heaps more aerial photos of the earthquake damage from all over Christchurch by visiting the source of this image by Land Information New Zealand.