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
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
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

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin