A tour operator’s boat to White Island is seen at the harbour in Whakatane, New Zealand on Wednesday. Jorge Silva/ Reuters
A mother and daughter have become the first Australians to be named as victims of New Zealand’s volcano disaster after the family was informed by authorities early on Wednesday, media said.
Brisbane woman Julie Richards, 47, and her daughter Jessica, 20, had been confirmed dead after Monday’s explosion at White Island, family friend John Mickel said on the Sky News program.
The two left for New Zealand last Monday and were due home this weekend.
The death toll stands at six, with eight others presumed deceased on the island, which is still too dangerous for rescuers to visit.
There were 47 people on White Island at the time of the eruption. Twenty-four of those were from Australia, nine from the United States, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two each from China and Britain and one from Malaysia.
New Zealanders across the country observed a minute of silence on Monday to honour the victims of last week’s fatal volcanic eruption, as police continued efforts to recover two bodies.
The death toll from a New Zealand volcano eruption rose to eight on Thursday, with two victims dying in hospital, and will continue to climb with eight victims presumed dead on the island and more than 20 in intensive care suffering severe burns.
At least five people were killed, up to 20 injured and several were reported missing after a volcano suddenly erupted off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island on Monday, spewing a plume of ash thousands of feet into the air.
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