Rescuers officially gave up hope of finding more survivors of the Christchurch earthquake, saying yesterday that no one trapped in rubble when the disaster struck nine days earlier could still be alive.
The news was a blow to the families of about 200 people listed as missing. Many relatives and friends had clung to faltering hope despite more than a week of silence from beneath the debris that still litters the city.
A total of 161 bodies have been recovered, most still unidentified. The final toll is expected to be about 240.