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Friday, April 8, 2011

Students' families consider legal action

Students' families consider legal action

Last updated 05:00 09/04/2011
Families of the Japanese students who died in the February earthquake want to know why the CTV building collapsed and are considering legal action.

The Toyama College of Foreign Languages lost 12 students in the collapse. Nine students were rescued from the building and four of them are still in hospital.

College professor Kuniaki Kawahata, who lost his 20-year-old daughter, Kyoko Kawahata, in the building, said from Japan that the families wanted answers.

"Parents of the deceased children want to know why that building alone collapsed so terribly and killed our children. All the other buildings are standing, so they need to know why," he said.

"If someone is to blame, I think they probably want to take some legal action, but first they want to make sure the same thing doesn't happen again and cause this kind of tragedy. That is all they want to do."

College president Hisao Yoshida was in Wellington yesterday to visit rescued student Rika Iwakura, 19, in hospital. Iwakura had her right leg amputated and is on dialysis. She was scheduled to leave Wellington Hospital yesterday.

Kawahata said three 19-year-old students rescued from the CTV building were in Japanese hospitals.

Kento Okuda had his right leg amputated, Norika Masutani had a "black and badly bruised" left foot, and Ayaka Naruse had a fractured hip bone and could only move around on crutches or in a wheelchair.

Masutani feared her foot would have to be amputated in order to free her from the CTV building. Rescue workers drilled through the floor beneath her to free her leg without amputation. She later thanked her rescuers when they visited her in hospital.

Naruse and Masutani were discharged from Christchurch Hospital in early March.

Speaker of the Israeli Knesset Reuven Rivlin will visit Christchurch on Monday.

Three Israeli tourists, Ofer Levy, Gabi Ingel and Ofer Mizrahi, died in the February earthquake.

Rivlin will tour the centre of Christchurch, meet Mayor Bob Parker and visit the Christchurch Synagogue.

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