New Zealand continues rescue of tourists stranded by quake


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New Zealand military officials said Tuesday that they had evacuated about 140 people by helicopter from a coastal town and were expecting that number to rise to 200 by the end of the day, as a major rescue operation unfolded following a powerful earthquake.

Hundreds of tourists and residents remained stranded in the town of Kaikoura and faced a third disrupted night after the quake early Monday cut off train and vehicle access.

The operation comes as several buildings in the capital, Wellington, were evacuated and streets cordoned off after engineers determined that a nine-story office building was in danger of collapsing.

The magnitude-7.8 quake that struck New Zealand's South Island left two people dead and triggered a small tsunami. It also brought down rocks and mud that swept across highways and cracked apart roads.

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