A Sydney girl has been officially named as one of the two people still missing following last week’s tragic volcano eruption on White Island.
New Zealand police confirmed on Tuesday that the body of Winona Jane Langford, 17, of North Willoughby, and local tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman, 40, were yet to be recovered by authorities.
Winona’s parents Anthony Langford, 51, and Kristine Langford, 45, have been confirmed dead. Her brother Jesse, 19, is in hospital with severe burns.
Mr Marshall-Inman, who was the first of the volcano’s victims to be officially named, is thought to have been killed on his way back to help tourists on the island at the time of the eruption.
Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne visited injured Australians in hospital on Tuesday, holding back tears as she spoke to the media afterwards.
“I don’t think anyone of us can begin to imagine what those families are facing in the coming weeks and months,” she said.
“In places like Auckland and Sydney we’re surrounded by Christmas and celebration but they face tragedy and devastation.
“Our hearts and thoughts are with them every step of the way.”
NZ Police on Tuesday also released the names of three more Australians who have been officially identified.
They were Coffs Harbour man Richard Elzer, 32, Sydney-based US citizen Barbara Hollander, 49, and Brisbane woman Julie Richards, 47.
Commissioner Mike Bush said police were “almost fully confident” that the bodies of Ms Langford and Mr Marshall-Inman were in the water off White Island.
“However, we’ve got one or two things to cover off before we can say that with 100 per cent confidence,” he said.
On Tuesday, police were forced to abandon their hunt for the bodies for the second straight day, due to poor weather.
A major retrieval operation following the December 9 eruption had already taken six bodies off the island.
But the dangerous mission remained mostly on hold as wild gusts and rain lashed the Bay of Plenty off Whakatane on NZ’s North Island. For the second straight day, police didn’t set foot on White Island or enter nearby waters.
Police attempted a helicopter search of the volcano’s shoreline on Tuesday but were forced to return to base because of the weather.
Late in the day they revealed they had widened their search as far as Taungawaka Bay, on the New Zealand mainland almost 70 kilometres east of the White Island volcano.
“Police will continue to focus on areas from Whakaari/White Island through to the East Cape based on tidal patterns and as the weather allows,” deputy commissioner John Tims said.
There were 47 people on the active volcano when it blasted ash, hot liquid and steam into the sky on Monday. Among them were 28 Australians, including four permanent residents.
The Australian death toll stands at 16 but is expected to rise further.
Another 12 people are being treated in Australian hospitals after being repatriated with severe burns. More of the injured remain in hospital in New Zealand.
Senator Payne visited two of the NZ hospitals this week, thanking staff who have worked around the clock to treat victims of the blast.
“Love has poured out in their work,” she said.
“They are exhausted, of course they are, and the Australians who have been supporting them are exhausted as well.
“But we will continue to work together and where Australia can provide more support we will do so.”
Senator Payne said the Australian government would provide consular assistance as long as families remained in New Zealand to make decisions on repatriating loved ones’ bodies.
On Tuesday, NZ geological monitoring agency GeoNet also reduced its estimates of another eruption in the next 24 hours to 25-40 per cent.
There have been no further eruptions since December 9.
White Island tragedy: Confirmed dead
- Krystal Eve Browitt, 21, Melbourne
- Tīpene James Te Rangi Ataahua Maangi, 24, New Zealander
- Zoe Ella Hosking, 15, Adelaide
- Gavin Brian Dallow, 53, Adelaide
- Anthony James Langford, 51, Sydney
- Kristine Elizabeth Langford, 45, Sydney.
- Matthew Robert Hollander, 13, US citizen, Australian permanent resident, Sydney
- Berend “Ben” Lawrence Hollander, 16, US citizen, Australian permanent resident, Sydney
- Martin Berend Hollander, 48, Sydney
- Barbara Jean Hollander, 49, US citizen, Australian permanent resident, Sydney
- Karla Michelle Mathews, 32, Coffs Harbour
- Jason David Griffiths, 33, Coffs Harbour
- 13. Richard “Rick” Aaron Elzer, 32, Coffs Harbour
- Jessica Richards, 20, Brisbane
- Julie Richards, 47, Brisbane
- Australian man who died in a Sydney hospital on December 14. Family has requested his details not be released.
Missing, presumed dead:
- Winona Jane Langford, 17, Sydney
- Hayden Bryan Marshall-Inman, 40, Whakatane