Increasing tremors on a volcanic island in New Zealand on Wednesday heightened the risk of another massive eruption, preventing the recovery of bodies two days after an eruption engulfed dozens of tourists in steam and hot ash.
Six people were killed in Monday’s explosion at White Island, which lies some 50 km (30 miles) off the mainland, with another nine officially listed as missing, and 30 injured.
Australian Gavin Dallow, 53, and his stepdaughter Zoe Hosking, 15, were the latest victims to be identified on Wednesday.
“Our hearts break at the loss of Zoe at such a young age,” the Dallow family said in an emailed statement. “We mourn the loss of Gavin and Zoe.”
And the death toll could rise with 29 people in intensive care in several hospitals around the country.
Twenty seven people have horrific burns to 30% or more of their body and 22 are also on airway support due to the severity of their burns, said medical authorities.
“We anticipate we will require an additional 1.2 million square centimeters of skin for the ongoing needs of the patients,” Counties Manukau Chief Medical Officer, Dr Peter Watson, said at Middlemore Hospital in Auckland.
“The nature of the burns suffered is complicated by the gases and chemicals in the eruption. This has necessitated more rapid treatment of these burns than is the case for thermal-only burns,” said Watson.
Surgical teams were engaged in around-the-clock treatment.
“This is just the start of a very long process that for some patients will last several months,” he said.
The Australian government said it expected to transfer up to 10 injured citizens from New Zealand starting in the next 24 hours, if medical staff approve them for travel.