The police dive team will today (16 December) resume their search for the last two bodies at White Island after a fruitless search by land and sea. The number of people who have died as a result of last Monday’s devastating eruption is now 16 after two more victims died in hospital at the weekend. Condolences to the families – sorry for your loss.
Whakaari / White Island (active)
Clement said this whole situation is “tough going for everybody”.
“People who go on the island get exhausted very quickly due to all the gear and the conditions.”
Today’s search ruled out one area near the jetty they thought the bodies could possibly be.
“We are satisfied that the area we searched near the jetty is clear of the bodies.”
The person, who had been taken home to Australia, died there on Saturday, a police statement said.
Police had confirmed four more names of those who died on Whakaari/White Island.
Tour guide Tipene James Te Rangi Ataahua Maangi, 24, from New Zealand, while Australian’s Zoe Ella Hosking,15, Gavin Brian Dallow, 53, and Anthony James Langford, 51, have all been identified as victims of the eruption.
A grieving nation will observe one minute’s silence today for victims of the Whakaari/White Island eruption after a failed attempt to find two missing bodies.
The police dive team will resume their search today today after an attempt by specialist teams yesterday failed to locate them on the island or in the water.
The number of people who have died as a result of last Monday’s devastating eruption is now 16 after two more victims died in hospital at the weekend.
One person died at Waikato Hospital on Saturday and a second victim who was transferred to Concord Hospital in Australia died yesterday.
Tributes for former tour guide Tipene Maangi
Tributes have continued to flow for the victims of the volcanic eruption at Whakaari / White Island which took the lives of 16 people – in particular for tour guide Tipene Maangi.
A tearful Susanna Olivier came to leave a message for Tipene on the memorial at the Whakatāne foreshore this afternoon.
She and her husband Louw taught the 23-year-old who had started working as a tour guide on the island only months ago when he was growing up in Te Kaha.
Olivier said Tipene had recently sought her advice about an interview.
“I said ‘you are such a wonderful young man just be yourself’ and I said ‘but what kind of interview?’ and he said ‘oh whaea I’m looking at ECE early childhood education’ and so I said ‘you will be absolutely amazing’.”
Olivier said that was the last she had heard from Tipene and it came as a shock to learn he was working as a tour guide on the island.
“You always think you have time to say your goodbyes and I didn’t have time to say my goodbyes to Tipene.”
14 December 2019
The person who died was being treated at Waikato Hospital, police said.
It is believed 47 people were on or close to Whakaari / White Island when it erupted on Monday. With two people still missing on or around the island after the eruption, that brings the total number of deaths to 17.
Six bodies were recovered from the island yesterday but two have not yet been found. The divers have been facing challenging conditions as the water around the island is contaminated, Deputy Police Commissioner John Tims stated.
Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement said it was becoming more likely that the two missing bodies had been been washed into the sea. Rescue crews saw one of the two remaining unrecovered bodies in the sea after the eruption, but poor conditions in the water prevented recovery.
Clement said the other was either in the water or in the ravine between the crater and the ocean. He said there will be no grid search of the island but police would need to ensure that no body was buried in sediment which came in rainfall after the eruption.
Yesterday he said a recovery mission on the island focused on an area along a watercourse running down the mountain to the sea, but that there were no signs of the two missing bodies. There will be one minute’s silence for the victims of the eruption at 2.11pm today, exactly one week after the eruption.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said she will be observing today’s silence alongside members of Cabinet at their weekly meeting. – RNZ