BBC presenter’s brother ‘unaccounted for’ following New Zealand hostel fire

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The brother of BBC presenter Lucy Hockings “remains unaccounted for” following a hostel fire in New Zealand.

A spokeswoman for the BBC said the journalist and her family were “awaiting further information from the authorities” after the blaze in Wellington on Tuesday.

Police in the country’s capital are treating the fire as suspicious following reports of “multiple fatalities” at the Loafer’s Lodge – with some affected families still awaiting news on those missing.

The Associated Press (AP) said officers have accounted for 92 people who were in the hostel and have a list of fewer than 20 who remain unaccounted for – with the expected final death toll believed to be fewer than 10.

Women in the World conference
BBC presenter Lucy Hockings (left) and NSPCC Children’s Rights Campaigner Helena Fraser speak during the Women in the World conference at Cadogan Hall in London (Lauren Hurley/PA)

The spokeswoman said: “Following the devastating fire in at the hostel in Wellington, New Zealand, Liam Hockings, the brother of Lucy Hockings, remains unaccounted for.

“Liam lived at the hostel. Lucy and her family are awaiting further information from the authorities and we ask that her and her family’s privacy is respected at this time.

“The BBC will do everything it can to support Lucy.”

AP said people were forced to flee in their pyjamas as flames tore through the hostel, with others seen diving from windows or rescued by firefighters from the roof.

Inspector Dion Bennett, acting Wellington District Commander for New Zealand Police, said they expected the scene to be examined for “some time”.

Police are also investigating a potential link with a sofa fire which took place two hours before the fatal blaze.

Officers hoped to enter the building on Wednesday afternoon following a health and safety assessment and will be working to locate and recover those who have died, Mr Bennett said.

In his statement, the officer added: “We know there are many people waiting for news of family and friends – including the residents who escaped the fire and are keenly waiting for news of their fellow tenants.

“I again want to provide the reassurance that we have a large number of officers working on this investigation, with the aim of providing them the answers they need as quickly as possible.”

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