Filipino Escapes Before CTV Building Collapses in Christchurch, New Zealand

Escaping minutes before the Canterbury Television (CTV) building in Christchurch, New Zealand completely collapsed, Rosendo Ramos was able to find his way out of the debris and pull out a New Zealander to safety.

“On February 22, at about 12:50 p.m., the ground shook,” began Ramos as he told his survivor story to a UNTV reporter on its evening news program, Ito Ang Balita.

“I was on the 3rd floor of the CTV building talking with an administration staff member of Kings College language school regarding student visa,” Ramos said via a Skype interview that was aired days after at UNTV. He said that he came to New Zealand to prepare for the International English Language Testing System or IELTS when the 6.3-magnitude earthquake hit the city.

Bro. Rosendo Ramos is one of the many Filipinos who survived the wrath of earthquake at Christchurch, New Zealand recently.

Bro. Rosendo Ramos is one of the many Filipinos who survived the wrath of earthquake at Christchurch, New Zealand recently.

“The administration staff member and I hid under the table. Moments later, I felt the whole fourth floor fall on the ceiling,” continued Ramos as UNTV connected him to the rest of the nation and the world via

“When I opened my eyes, it was very dark, and [the place] was full of dust; I could also inhale the asbestos. It was as if I were in a very tight coffin.”

Trapped together with Ramos at the time were about 60 to 120 people, including a group of overseas students. By the next day, police reported that there was no chance of survival and no signs of life from the CTV building where fires had burned overnight.

Using his cellphone as a flash light, Ramos struggled to find their way out. “Then, I saw a very thin streak of light; I followed it. I broke what needed to be broken, pushed wood, stones, cement.”

As soon as Ramos made his way out through a window, he took the New Zealander by the hand and got her out of the building. A police officer saw them and led them to the park nearby. An aftershock ensued and minutes later, the building collapsed completely right before their eyes.

“It was terrifying,” he said. The police officer who aided them said that it was his first time to see such a disaster like what happens in the movies.

“Thank God I escaped with only minor abrasions. I had no serious injuries,” Ramos said. “The lady greatly thanked me for saving her. But I replied, ‘No, it was the Lord who saved us. Thanks be to God!'”

Rosendo Ramos is a member of the Members Church of God International (MCGI). Last February 26, Bro. Eli Soriano, presiding minister to MCGI, said in the Church’s weekly Thanksgiving service that he was thankful to God that none of the members residing in Christchurch were harmed in the catastrophe.

Mentioning Psalms 50:23, he further urged everyone across the world connected via the Internet to give thanks for the Lord’s saving grace, and to pray for those who are still hoping for a strike of good news about their missing relatives.

To date, the death toll of the Christchurch quake is 154 with more than 240 people missing and unaccounted for. Seventy people were reported to have been rescued alive.

(Written by: Jay Arellano)