New Zealand volcano – first victim named as 21-year-old Australian tourist – The Sun

New Zealand volcano – first victim named as 21-year-old Australian tourist – The Sun

A 21-YEAR-OLD Australian woman is the first volcano victim to be identified from the six bodies recovered from White Island yesterday.

Krystal Browitt, from Melbourne, was on a cruise holiday with her parents Paul and Marie and sister Stephanie, 23, when the volcano erupted on Monday, spewing ash and steam with 47 people on the island.

Marie stayed behind on the cruise ship while Krystal, Stephanie and Paul went on the volcano trip, it's reported.

Stephanie is in a coma in hospital with her mother at her bedside, while Paul is being treated for burns in a hospital in Melbourne.

The tragic announcement came as police and navy divers today returned to the island to search for more bodies.

Incredible photos taken from above White Island yesterday showed rescuers searching the island in teams of two in a desperate bid to bring everyone home.

They were seen wearing protective yellow suits and using breathing apparatus owing to the threat of toxic gases as they walk across the recently-erupted volcano.

Aside from the volcanic risk, the wet weather in New Zealand is also a cause for concern for the recovery mission.

Rain mixing with the heavy volcanic ash lying on the island could encase the bodies in a cement-like substance, making the recovery even more difficult.

New Zealand authorities believe the force of the eruption resulted in one of the victims being knocked into the water.

We learned some stuff yesterday as a result of being on the island

While the rescue team successfully recovered six bodies – all thought to be those of Australian tourists – the search is continuing for two more bodies, believed to be those of New Zealand tour guides.

Authorities said one of those bodies was known to be in the water off the island, but was unable to be retrieved by divers on Friday.

Deputy commissioner Mike Clement said there were nine divers in the water since 7 am today, working to a buddy system.

He said:“We learned some stuff yesterday as a result of being on the island.

"The purpose of the planning day today is to work through the scenarios with that eighth person, where they could be.

Credit: AFP
Elite soldiers take part in a mission to retrieve bodies from White Island

12 The volcano, a popular tourist destination for day-trippers, erupted on Monday

12 Troops in Chernobyl-style suits scoured the hellish ground zero in search for bodies

“We’ve got enough evidence to justify deploying that dive squad and the navy dive squad this afternoon.”

Meanwhile the death toll from the disaster was raised to 16 as two Australian schoolboys — Matthew and Berend Hollander, 13 and 16 — died in hospital.

Credit: AP:Associated Press
An aerial view of the volcano in the aftermath of the eruption

Six of the eight bodies on the island were successfully retrieved and taken to a naval patrol vessel as heartbroken families looked on, police said.

But the whereabouts of the other two was less certain.

And experts fear they may become entombed forever like those buried under volcanic ash in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.





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