No bodies in Christchurch Cathedral

Search and Rescue people have spent the last 10 days preparing to search the Cathedral in the Square for bodies. On February 22nd, the cathedral tower and spire collapsed. Anyone wanting a view of the city could climb this 36m tower. After the earthquake some people were rescued from the cathedral but we heard that there were 22 people trapped in the tower, probably on the stairs near the bottom.

It was very dangerous for Search and Rescue people to work inside the cathedral tower because it was so badly damaged. First a steel structure was built and dropped into the tower by crane. This gave some protection to workers and to the historic building. Then workers placed cameras into the rubble to search for bodies.

Last night, Search and Rescue finished searching through the broken rubble and found nothing – no bodies. This was very good news. Nobody really knows where that story came from, about 22 people trapped in the tower. One person who ran out of the cathedral during the earthquake said, “There are people behind me”. Maybe that’s how the story started. But where did the number 22 come from?

Grammar notes

The first sentence has “spent … doing”. The structure is “spend time doing / making/ watching / reading”. Can you make your own sentences using both present and past?

Later, we have “finished searching”. Many words meaning “stop” use this structure e.g. “Stop dreaming”, “Quit smoking”, “Give up skiing”, “Finish making”. Can you think of other verbs that have an -ing form afterwards? What about words meaning “start”?

What is the difference between a rumour and gossip? Why do we spread rumours and gossip?

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