White Island eruption death toll rises to 21

White Island eruption death toll rises to 21
Photo credit: Westpac.

Another person has died from injuries sustained during the Whakaari/White Island eruption, bringing the death toll to 21. 

Nineteen of the Whakaari/White Island victims died in New Zealand and two died in Australia.

The name of the deceased will be released once the family have been informed.

It's been more than month since the volcano erupted on December 9, 2019.  

The eruption left victims with such severe burns the majority were kept unconscious as surgeons worked around the clock to save their lives.

"A lot of patients are in induced comas just because of the severity of their injury," said Dr Vanessa Thornton, clinical director of Middlemore Emergency Department, in December.

The volcano is New Zealand's most active, but daily tours were conducted on the island - more than 10000 people visited the island every year. 

In January, the company which conducted tours to White Island began to tour the nearby Moutohorā/Whale Island.

CEO Tracey Hook said the continuation of tours was a positive step for staff, but it was also "a sombre and emotional occasion".

No prohibitions were placed on Moutohorā following the devastating eruption, but tours were temporarily halted as a mark of respect for the victims and their families.


 

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