Flowers are seen at a memorial at the harbour in Whakatane, following the White Island volcano eruption in New Zealand. File photo/Reuters
A police helicopter looking for two bodies still missing after a New Zealand volcano eruption last week was forced to return due to bad weather, police said on Tuesday.
The official death toll from the surprise eruption on White Island, also known by its Māori name of Whakaari, stands at 16. Six bodies were retrieved from the island on Friday.
Those still missing, presumed dead, are Winona Langford, a 17-year old Australian, and Hayden Marshall-Inman, a 40-year old New Zealand tour guide. Their bodies are believed to be in the waters around the island.
“I know that every effort is being made...weather is currently conspiring against them and that is a very dangerous environment in which they are working,” Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne told reporters in Auckland during a visit to meet with officials following the eruption.
The dead include 11 Australian citizens, three Australian permanent residents and one New Zealander. One other person, whose name has not been released, died after being transferred to an Australian hospital.
There has been growing criticism that people were allowed on the island, a popular destination for day-trippers, given the risks of an active volcano. That has led to speculation the tragedy could lead to major changes for New Zealand’s thrillseeker tourism industry.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said on Monday that official inquiries by coroners and work safety regulators into the eruption could take up to a year, and will carry potential criminal penalties of up to five years in jail.
She is seeking advice from officials on whether a broader investigation is needed.
New Zealand police said on Wednesday they would be scaling down search operations for the two people who are missing after a volcanic eruption last week, admitting the bodies may never be found.
Divers searched seas around New Zealand’s volatile White Island on Saturday for two people still missing five days after the volcano erupted, amid warnings it could do so again. Police deputy commissioner John Tims said
New Zealand police said on Tuesday they were ending the search for the bodies of two people still missing following the deadly eruption of a volcano earlier this month. “The search for the two missing victims of the Whakaari
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.
The Ministry, on Saturday, on its official twitter account said, “In view of the announcement by the health authorities in the Federal Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea of monitoring outbreaks of "Marburg" virus, and based on the Ministry's concern for the safety of the country's citizens, the Ministry advises to postpone travel to the Federal Republic of Tanzania and the Republic of Equatorial Guinea in this period.”
Environmental activists threw black liquid into the waters of a Roman fountain in Piazza di Spagna in the Italian capital, Rome, during a protest in which they spoke of the "end of the world" scenario.
They also do not know how to draw the attention of passersby to help them, which puts them at serious risks including death.