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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 May, 2003, 11:51 GMT 12:51 UK
Rescue team return from quake zone
Map graphic
A rescue team from the West of England is packing up to leave Algeria as the search for more earthquake survivors has been called off.

Rapid UK, based in Quedgeley, Gloucestershire, sent 12 people to the worst-affected areas.

The team, whose members are drawn from several counties, are with a contingent from the Department for International Development.

Rapid UK workers were involved in the vain 16-hour search for an 11-year-old Algerian girl called Sabrina who was thought to be trapped in the rubble of a block of flats.

They are due to fly in to Stansted Airport on Monday.

More than 2,000 people are now reported to have been killed in the earthquake, which struck on Wednesday.

Grahm Payne of Rapid UK
Graham Payne of Rapid UK said the team took all their latest equipment

It measured 6.7 on the Richter scale and destroyed dozens of buildings in the capital, Algiers.

Rapid UK director Graham Payne, who is based in Devon, said the team had been working at the epicentre of the earthquake in a new Mediterranean development area.

"They were searching buildings including those which had already been searched by the local teams.

"With the aftershocks, buildings settle and there can be a chance of finding people alive in areas which have previously been searched.

"We have all the latest equipment to find people who may be unconscious: fibre optic cameras, sound location equipment, thermal equipment and so on."

Two dogs from Leicestershire Fire Service search and rescue unit have been working with the Rapid UK team.

The team in Algeria has 24-hour support from the specialists based at Rapid UK's operational headquarters in Gloucestershire.

'No hope of finding Sabrina alive'
25 May 03  |  England
Rescuers abandon quake search
25 May 03  |  Africa
Race to save quake girl's life
24 May 03  |  Africa
Eyewitness accounts of quake
22 May 03  |  Africa
Fury and despair fill Algerian press
24 May 03  |  Middle East

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