White Island eruption: 17th victim confirmed dead

The death toll following the Whakaari/White Island eruption has climbed to 17.

The latest victim died in Auckland's Middlemore Hospital on Sunday night, police said.

"The death of this person brings the official number of deceased to 17, 16 of whom died in New Zealand and one in Australia," police said in a statement on Monday.

Forty-seven people were on the island when it erupted on December 9.

Local tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman and Australian teenager Winona Langford remain unaccounted for and are presumed dead.

The bodies of six of the victims were recovered on December 13 after a dangerous mission back to the island by the Defence Force.

The bodies of Marshall-Inman and Langford, which were not found by authorities during that operation, are believed to have washed out to sea in a mudslide on the night of the eruption.

Local coastguard spent the weekend scouring the area for signs of their bodies, but have yet to find them.

Last week police said they came "within metres" of Marshall-Inman's body in the ocean, but were unable to get their boat close enough to successfully recover it.

Anyone who finds a body floating in the water or on the coast is urged to call 111 and wait at the location until emergency services arrive.

 

Contact Newshub with your story tips:
news@newshub.co.nz