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Cafe collapse 'horrible', friend tells Commission

Published: 5:01PM Monday February 13, 2012 Source: ONE News

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission has heard evidence today on why another central Christchurch building collapsed with fatal results during the February quake.

The partial collapse of the facade of the Lotus Heart Cafe on Colombo Street caused the death of American tourist, 27-year-old Rachel Conley.

A friend travelling with her that day, Jessica Kinder, saw the moment Conley was struck by rubble.

"The force of concrete hitting Rachel was horrible. It happened so fast she wouldn't have had time to move. As soon as I saw her get hit I knew instantly that she would have been killed," Kinder said in evidence read to the Commission by lawyer Mark Zarifeh.

Further testimony about the collapse was given by structural engineers who said building assessments did not take into account the vulnerability of facades and their potential danger.