Winona State students safe in New Zealand - WXOW News 19 La Crosse, WI – News, Weather and Sports |

Winona State students safe in New Zealand

WINONA, Minn. (KTTC) -- A travel study group from Winona State University currently in New Zealand is safe, after a strong earthquake has killed at least 65 people in Christchurch.

School officials say the group has been contacted via e-mail and reported it was not involved.

The thirty WSU students and two faculty members say they are currently in Queenstown, about 300 miles away from Christchurch.

The travel study group left for the semester-long Pacific Challenge, which includes travel in New Zealand and Australia, on Jan. 19.

The group was in Christchurch as recently as three days ago, with students in the Tourism Planning class investigating the impact on local tourism of another earthquake, which struck the area in September of 2010.

The group is scheduled to return to Christchurch before leaving New Zealand.

The 6.3-magnitude quake struck Tuesday and officials fear as many as 100 people may still be trapped in the rubble.

That number includes as many as a dozen Japanese students on a visit to Christchurch.

Two of the students are known trapped. Some used their phones to call their parents.

The quake brought down tall buildings and the city's well-known stone cathedral.

The quake was the second to hit Christchurch in five months.

Another in September was stronger than Tuesday's quake, but that one struck before dawn and on a weekend.


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