Multiple deaths have been reported so far. The Christchurch airport was temporarily closed. Police sources informed that people are requested to leave the city as building frontages collapsed. Witnesses also stated that there were people trapped inside buildings.
A Police statement said, "Multiple fatalities have been reported at several locations in the central city, including two buses crushed by falling buildings. A doctor and emergency services are attending."
Local media reported that the quake's epicentre was Lyttelton with a depth of five kilometers, though it was felt as far away as Wellington and Dunedin. The quake occurred at 12:51 pm, during a normal workday in Christchurch.
After the reports of the massive quake, Prime Minister John Key, stated, "It is a very populated time with people at work, children at school," and also claimed, "Sadly, I cannot rule out whether there have been fatalities or not, but we are aware of significant damage to buildings that had people in them at the time."