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New Zealand volcano death toll rises to 19
New Zealand volcano death toll rises to 19

Wellington, Dec 23 (TIWN) The death toll from New Zealand's White Island volcanic eruption earlier this month has risen to 19, the police said on Monday.

There were 47 people visiting the tourist destination of Whakaari, also known as White Island, when the volcano erupted on 9 December, killing 13 people initially and leaving more than two dozen others hospitalised with severe burns. The latest victim is the sixth person to die in hospitals in New Zealand and Australia in the two weeks since the eruption.  Two of the victims’ bodies have not been recovered after authorities believe they were washed out to sea in a storm soon after the eruption. Helicopter pilots and boat operators helped the injured off the island immediately after the eruption, but emergency services did not return to the island to recover bodies until four days later because they considered that the site remained too dangerous.  In a brief statement, police said they had been told of the latest death at Middlemore Hospital on Sunday night. The victim’s name is yet to be released.

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