Page last updated at 01:09 GMT, Tuesday, 2 March 2010

Britons 'missing' after quake safe and well

Dave Sandercock and Kirsty Duff/Pic: The Duff family
Dave Sandercock and Kirsty Duff have been found safe and well

Four Britons feared missing in Chile after Saturday's earthquake have been found safe and well.

Two couples, Dave Sandercock and Kirsty Duff, and Andre Lanyon and Laura Hapgood, had been listed as missing on a website for surfers in Pichilemu.

The list still includes Briton Tina Cadwallader Lopes, who was in the resort with her husband and two children, and another Briton.

The Foreign Office says no casualties have been reported.

The eco-cottage Surfers' Cottage website for surfers at the resort, three hours from Chilean capital Santiago, said a search was ongoing for those who had failed to contact their families.

The family of Mr Sandercock and Ms Duff said it was a "massive relief" when they realised the pair were safe and well in Santiago.

In a statement the families added: "We have been in direct contact with Kirsty and Dave and can confirm that they are safe and well.

"We wish to thank all of those who have offered support and assistance during this difficult time. We hope that all other families find their loved ones soon."

'It feels like you're floating'

Andre Lanyon, from Guernsey, and Laura Hapgood, both 29, also turned up in Santiago.

Mr Lanyon's mother, Valerie, 55, said: "I haven't slept for three days and I certainly won't be getting any tonight. We're so excited and relieved.

"He sounded fine. They had just arrived in Santiago when they called."

Mr Lanyon was surprised to learn he had sparked national headlines, his mother said.

The four were in Pichilemu when the quake struck.

Another British woman, Charlotte Mountford, was on the 14th floor of an apartment building in Santiago when the earthquake hit.

She told the BBC: "It's just a sense of being at sea, it feels as if you're floating - you're constantly on the move.

"It's like a city on the ocean, and when I'm up here in my apartment it's worse.

"Then with the big aftershocks you can hear the paint, the walls, cracking that bit more, and you wonder, is this going to be the last straw? Is the building going to crumble? But it hasn't so far."

It is deeply frustrating that it can take some time to get our staff to where they need to be
Jeremy Loveless
Oxfam

The death toll of 708 from the 8.8-magnitude quake is expected to rise.

Chile's military is attempting to restore order in the country's second city, Concepcion. Troops have fired tear gas at looters attempting to flee with food and other goods from wrecked stores in the city.

Meanwhile, Gordon Brown has sent a message of sympathy to Chilean President Michelle Bachelet.

A spokesman for the prime minister said the "catastrophe" was "truly devastating" and that Mr Brown was following the situation closely.

He also said the European Commission had approved £2.7m in aid, and that the Department for International Development was monitoring the situation.

UK charity workers are on their way to Chile to help survivors, with staff from Oxfam among those due to touch down in the South American country.

170 people traced

About 2 million Chileans are thought to have been affected by the tremors, which caused buildings and roads to collapse and left some 1.5 million homes damaged.

About 65,000 British tourists visit Chile each year, according to the country's tourist authority.

Foreign Office minister Chris Bryant said officials were working hard to locate British nationals in Chile.

"One of our honorary consuls has now reached Concepcion near the epicentre and is attempting to make contact with the British nationals we know about there."

He said consular staff in Chile had been reinforced by an emergency response team from the British Embassy in Buenos Aires, and five further staff from London were due to arrive on Tuesday.

"Our teams in Chile have so far located and checked on over 170 British nationals, all of whom have confirmed they are safe.

"At present we have no confirmed reports of British casualties," he said.



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