WORLD NEWS

Toxic Air, Gases Hamper Search For Last 2 Volcano Victims

Dec 14, 2019, 6:51 PM | Updated: Jun 8, 2022, 4:49 pm
Photo: New Zealand Defence Force via Getty Images...
Photo: New Zealand Defence Force via Getty Images

WHAKATANE, New Zealand (AP) — A second land search of New Zealand’s volcanic White Island on Sunday failed to locate the bodies of the last two victims of an eruption that claimed the lives of at least 15 people, most of them tourists.

Two four-person teams landed on the island by helicopter early Sunday morning and searched a location thought to be the most likely place where one of the bodies might be. The teams, wearing heavy protective clothing, were using breathing apparatus that allowed them to search for only 75 minutes.

They were unable to locate either body and returned to the New Zealand mainland where they underwent decontamination after being exposed to toxic ash and gases.

“We have always anticipated recovering all bodies from the island and we remain deeply committed to that goal to allow families some closure,” Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said.

Later Sunday, divers were due to resume their search of waters around the island despite near zero visibility that hampered their efforts on Saturday. Rescue teams had reported seeing a body in the sea a day after Monday’s eruption.

The official death toll from the Dec. 9 eruption is now 15 and police have released the names of five victims who have been formally identified. They include four Australians and one New Zealander.

Among the dead are 15-year-old Zoe Hosking from Australia and her stepfather Gavin Dallow, 53. The first named victim was Krystal Browitt, a veterinary nursing student from Melbourne, Australia, who turned 21 on Nov. 29.

Ash and other fallout from the eruption has made the sea near the island toxic and divers have to be washed clean after every completed dive.

Tims called search conditions “unique and challenging.”

“Divers have reported seeing a number of dead fish and eels washed ashore and floating in the water, ” he said.

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called on New Zealanders to observe a minute’s silence in memory of victims of the disaster at 2:11 p.m. on Monday, exactly a week from the eruption. Ardern and her Cabinet will pause in silence during their regular meeting at Parliament in Wellington.

“Wherever you are in New Zealand or around the world, this is a moment we can stand alongside those who have lost loved ones in this extraordinary tragedy,” Ardern said. “Together we can express our sorrow for those who have died and been hurt and our support for their grieving families and friends.”

Military specialists recovered six bodies on Friday thought to be of Australians, who were most of the visitors to the island when the volcano blew up. The two last victims are believed to be New Zealanders — a tour guide and a boat captain who had taken tourists to the island.

Scientists have warned that White Island, which is the exposed tip of a mostly undersea volcano, is highly volatile, and has been venting steam and mud regularly.

The eruption occurred as 47 tourists and their guides were exploring the island.

Of the 15 injured, 11 are in “very critical” condition. All 13 Australians who suffered burns have been returned to Australia.

Husband and wife Pratap and Mayuri Singh were confirmed Saturday to be among survivors. The Atlanta couple are recovering from burns in Auckland’s Middlemore Hospital where their conditions were listed as stable.

Specialist medical teams were heading to New Zealand from Australia, Britain and the United States. Skin banks were also sending tissue to New Zealand hospitals to use for grafts.

Authorities say 24 Australians, nine Americans, five New Zealanders, four Germans, two Britons, two Chinese and a Malaysian were on the island at the time. Many were from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that had left Sydney two days earlier.

___

McMorran reported from Wellington, New Zealand.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

World News

This 19th century vampire-slaying kit was owned by Lord William Malcolm Hailey. (Credit: Hansons Au...
Emmy Abbassi, CNN

Antique vampire-slaying kit sparks international bidding war at auction

A vampire-slaying kit once owned by a British aristocrat sparked an international bidding war before selling for six times its estimated price.
13 hours ago
This undated image made available Monday, July 4, 2022, by the press office of the Autonomous Provi...
PAOLO SANTALUCIA and NICOLE WINFIELD, Associated Press

Body parts, gear found on Italian glacier after avalanche

A huge chunk of the Marmolada glacier cleaved off Sunday, sending torrents of ice, rock and debris down the mountainside onto unsuspecting hikers below.
13 hours ago
COPENHAGEN, DENMARK - JULY 04: Police at Copenhagen shopping center, Fields, where a shooter attack...
Susanne Gargiulo, Kim Norgaard, Pierre Meilhan, Jorge Engels, Tara Subramaniam and Jonny Hallam, CNN

Suspect in fatal Copenhagen mall shooting is remanded in psychiatric facility for 24 days, police say

A man arrested on suspicion of killing three people and wounding several others during a shooting at a shopping mall in Copenhagen is being remanded in a psychiatric facility for 24 days.
2 days ago
Fire burns at a shopping mall after it was struck by a missile on July 03, 2022 in Sloviansk, Ukrai...
FRANCESCA EBEL, Associated Press

Putin declares victory in eastern Ukraine region of Luhansk

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday declared victory in the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, one day after Ukrainian forces withdrew from their last remaining bulwark of resistance in the province.
2 days ago
This undated image made available Monday, July 4, 2022, by the press office of the Autonomous Provi...
FRANCES D'EMILIO Associated Press

Rain hampers search for missing in Italian glacier avalanche

Heavy rain was hampering the search in Italy for those unaccounted for — perhaps as many 15 — a day after an enormous chunk of an Alpine glacier broke off and slammed into hikers.
2 days ago
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JULY 04: People view the flooded Windsor Bridge along the Hawkesbury River in t...
Associated Press

After 3 feet of rain, 32,000 in Sydney area may need to flee

More than 30,000 residents of Sydney have been told to evacuate or prepare to abandon their homes.
3 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
Toxic Air, Gases Hamper Search For Last 2 Volcano Victims