Family's agony over missing Briton

The family of a British woman missing after the New Zealand earthquake spoke today of their agonising wait to learn whether she was among the dead.







Susan Selway was in her fourth floor office in the Canterbury Television building, which was struck when tremors tore through the city of Christchurch on South Island earlier this week.



Ms Selway, a clinical psychologist who celebrated her 50th birthday this month, was working in the building temporarily after her previous office was badly damaged in the last earthquake to hit the area.









Her husband, financial adviser Richard Austin, rushed to her workplace after hearing the news and waited all night with his brother David in the hope of seeing her walk out of the building alive.



Meanwhile, her father Malcolm Selway, 72, from Henley-on-Thames in Oxfordshire, had just returned to Britain after a trip to New Zealand but took the first plane back there to look for his daughter.



His wife Linda Selway said: "It's absolutely awful. Her old office building was condemned after the last earthquake but it wasn't hit this time and if she had been there she would have been alright."



Ms Selway had been due to move out of the Canterbury Television building next Tuesday into new premises.



Her stepmother Linda described her as "very gutsy".



"She's beautiful, gorgeous, lovely and very bubbly," she said. "She's the life and soul of the party and is always helping people out. She's the rock of the family."







Mrs Selway, 55, who runs a packaging and storage business, went on: "Susan had a big celebration for her 50th birthday the week before last and my husband went over. He helped her move into the CTV building on a temporary basis.



"He flew back from New Zealand and arrived at the airport to this awful news and went straight back on Wednesday on the next flight. Susan's youngest sister also flew out last night.



"As soon as Susan was known to be missing my husband and David went down there and waited at the site for her to walk out of the building.



"He'll stay in the country until he knows what's happened to her."



Ms Selway was born in New Zealand to British parents but came to the UK as a teenager to study at The Henley College and then the University of Warwick, where she read psychology.



She returned to New Zealand about 16 years ago to work.



Her stepmother added: "You always think things like this don't happen to us, they happen to other people."











The latest figure for the death toll in the quake was 113, with two Britons confirmed to be among the victims.



British chef Gregory Tobin, 25, from Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, had been on an around-the-world trip and was believed to have been working temporarily at a garage in Christchurch when the devastation struck.



The identity of the other British victim, also male. has not yet been confirmed.



Friends left tributes to former Tadcaster Grammar School pupil Mr Tobin on Facebook.



One read: "Such a nice guy and at such a young age." Another read: "Sad times ... I can't believe it."



British High Commission spokesman Chris Harrington said two more British men were believed to be among the missing.



He said: "They got on a certain bus, which was crushed by falling masonry."



Mr Harrington added that an injured Briton, who is in Christchurch Hospital after suffering a fractured skull, broken clavicle and broken ribs, is expected to make a full recovery.



Tributes were paid to Irishman Eoin McKenna, a psychiatric nurse from Monaghan county, who died when his car was crushed by falling debris.



The father-of-two had trained and worked in London and also spent some time in Saudi Arabia.



Fabian Murphy, an old school friend from St Macartan's College in Monaghan, said: "He was as funny as ever. I have known him since we were four years old.



"He was one of the funniest people ever, even in 2009, the night's craic we had was just like old times. We'll really miss him."



Rescuers continued to search for another Irishman who worked in a building that collapsed when the quake struck.



He has been named locally as JJ O'Connor, from Co Kerry, an accountant in the Pyne Gould Guinness (PGG) Building in Christchurch.



Some 228 people are still missing after the 6.3-magnitude quake, and hopes of pulling anyone else out of the rubble alive have diminished.



Officials said the death toll is likely to rise, and New Zealand foreign minister Murray McCully said the government was preparing to give family members from several countries some bad news.



Hundreds of rescuers from across the globe, including a 55-strong search and rescue team drawn from the British emergency fire and rescue services, continue to scour Christchurch's shattered town centre district.



Civil defence minister John Carter said: "We are still hopeful that there still may be people rescued but it's getting less and less likely."



The Foreign Office is working with the local authorities, police and hospitals to get more information about the large number of British people living in the area.



A Foreign Office spokesman said: "We can confirm the death of two British nationals as a result of the earthquake. Next of kin have been informed and we are providing consular assistance."



It is feared it could be a month before all the names of the dead have been released as the severity of injuries means DNA and fingerprints may have to be used to identify them.



Up to 120 bodies are still believed to be inside the Canterbury Television building, which also housed an English language school.



A dedicated hotline - 020 7008 8765 - has been set up for concerned friends and relatives in the UK.



British nationals in New Zealand are advised to call 049 242 898 for advice and assistance.







A 63-strong team of British emergency fire and rescue service workers have landed in the country and set up camp in Christchurch, where they will help look for survivors.



Drawn from fire services in the West Midlands, Grampian, Hampshire, Leicestershire, West Sussex, Cheshire, Essex and South Wales, some of them assisted in the search and rescue mission following the recent Haiti earthquake.



The group was deployed to New Zealand at the request of the country's foreign and defence ministers.



In London, Prince William, Prince Harry, and William's fiancee Kate Middleton will visit the New Zealand High Commission today to sign a book of condolence in memory of those who have died in the earthquake.

Suggested Topics
Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

VB.Net Developer - £40k - Surrey - WANTED ASAP

£35000 - £40000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .Mid Level V...

Digitakl Business Analyst, Slough

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Competitive Benefits: Progressive Recruitment: Dig...

Mechanical Estimator: Nuclear Energy - Sellafield

£40000 - £50000 per annum + Car, Medical, Fuel + More!: Progressive Recruitmen...

Dynamics NAV Techno-Functional Consultant

£50000 - £60000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: An absolutely o...

Day In a Page

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices