Robot to assess quake damage in Catholic basilica

3:06 pm on 11 July 2011

A New Zealand Army robot will be used to assess damage inside Christchurch's earthquake-damaged Catholic basilica.

The Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament has not been used since the 7.0-magnitude quake on 4 September last year.

Further damage caused by the devastating quake on 22 February and another in June means it is no longer safe to enter.

A spokesperson says the robot will capture high quality video of the church's interior.

It may also be able to retrieve a camera that was mounted on a toy helicopter but lost during a filming attempt in June.

Engineers hope the robot will give them a clearer picture of the damage to the rear of the basilica, which should be completely dismantled by mid-September this year.

Students at the Catholic Cathedral College next door will be able to return to their classrooms for the final school term if the work is completed on time, they say.