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Japan foreign exchange group trapped in NZ quake

Feb. 22, 2011 - 21:19 By 김윤미

TOKYO (AP) -- At least two Japanese exchange students were trapped and another 11 missing in the powerful New Zealand earthquake after it sent their language school tumbling down around them as they ate lunch, school and government officials said.

A group of 23 students and teachers from Toyama College of Foreign Languages was eating lunch when the quake struck Tuesday, severely damaging the building.

One of the teachers had earlier e-mailed her family in Japan that she was trapped in the building with some of the students, according to the head of the school.

The two teachers and eight of the students were rescued from the twisted building, while two more students were still stuck inside Tuesday evening. Some of the rescued had broken bones, and the remaining 11 students were still unaccounted for.

Japanese media reported that the other teacher is a New Zealand native who taught at the school in Toyama, on Japan's western coast.

The Daily Yomiuri newspaper identified him as David Horsley on its English twitter page.

Hisao Yoshida, head of the Toyama College of Foreign Languages, said the group was eating lunch at a language school called King's Education when the quake hit. According to King's Education Ltd.'s website, it is located in Christchurch's CTV building, which was toppled by the quake.

The earthquake hit Christchurch, one of New Zealand's biggest cities, during a workday, toppling tall buildings and churches, crushing buses and killing at least 65 people in one of the country's worst natural disasters.
The students arrived last week and were to stay in the country to study English through March 13, Yoshida said.

Yukio Edano, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary, said the government was working to gather more details.