Destinations

White Island/Whakaari tragedy: Missing victims may never be found

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

New Zealand police have conceded the chances of finding the two missing victims of the White Island eruption are slim.

The identities of the two remaining victims yet to be found after the tragic eruption of White Island (Whakaari) have been revealed.

On Monday, police named tour guide Hayden Marshall-Inman and 17-year-old Australian tourist Winona Langford as still missing. They are believed to be in the sea after having been washed from the Whakaari volcano crater, according to Radio New Zealand.

Police are continuing their search of the area surrounding Whakaari, after poor weather and ash reportedly confounded their search yesterday.

Winona Langford was travelling with her family when they were caught up in the eruption of Whakaari (Facebook)

However, Deputy Commissioner Mike Clement told RNZ the chances of finding the remaining bodies were slim, even for one believed to have been spotted in the water a week ago.

“What we do is model and put ourselves in a position where we think that things could eventuate and if all of those things are playing out then we will find it,” Clement said.

“And if they don’t, we won’t.”

The eruption last Monday led to the official deaths of 16 people. Twenty-nine people were injured, many of who remain in a critical condition, in an event described as the worst burns incident in New Zealand history.

Winona Langford’s parents, Kristine, 45, and Anthony, 51, were among those killed in the eruption. Winona’s brother, Jesse, who was also on the island, remains in a coma in a Sydney hospital.

Minister for Foreign Affairs visits New Zealand

Australia’s Minster for Foreign Affairs, Marise Payne, praised the response to the Whakaari tragedy and the care of patients by emergency and medical personnel, which she said “has been nothing less than extraordinary”.

Payne is currently visiting New Zealand on behalf of the Australian government to convey Australia’s condolences and gratitude, meeting with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Winston Peters.

Payne also personally met with emergency responders, consular personnel and hospital staff involved in the response to the Whakaari eruption.

New Zealand law expert calls on Whakaari to be bought back by government

Whakaari is currently owned by the Buttle family, and stands as a private scenic reserve, according to Stuff.co.nz.

University of Auckland honorary academic and law school lecturer Kenneth Palmer believes it is time for the ownership of Whakaari to be handed back to the government.

Palmer told the outlet the government had the power to buy the land off the Buttle family under the Public Works Act and it should do so with a degree of urgency.

After acquiring the land, it could declare it a scientific reserve owned by the Crown and managed by the Department of Conservation, which could restrict access to authorised personnel such as scientists, according to Palmer.

“With that category, they have total discretion as to whether they allow any of the public to land on the island,” he explained.

If the Crown acquired the land, Palmer said another option was to either grant the land back to iwi, or introduce a joint management plan by putting a case before the Te Ture Whenua Maori Act (Māori Land Act).

To follow Travel Weekly’s ongoing coverage of the White Island (Whakaari) eruption tragedy, click here.

Featured image: White Island (Whakaari) New Zealand, December 11, 2019 (Planet/Twitter)



SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Leave a Reply

Destinations

Skip the rebound surge with South America

For clients eager to travel overseas again but wanting to avoid the summer disruptions, leave Greece or California for another time and head to South America.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Events

Top 12 unmissable events for Italian summer trips

Summer in Italy means sunshine, gelato, promenading after dinner, Aperols overlooking the ocean, hiking, cycling…and a jam-packed events calendar.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Airport queues return in anticipation of the school holidays

If you were looking for a good chance to relisten to Led Zeppelin’s entire discography but can’t find the time, we recommend booking a flight to literally anywhere from Sydney or Melbourne airport this month.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

Queensland government mulls tourism tax

In response to this, the NSW government will be introducing an ice-cream tax, which has infuriated primary school kids across the state.

Share

CommentComments

Destinations

South Africa drops all remaining COVID restrictions

Meanwhile, we’ve decided to keep mask-wearing optional in Travel Weekly’s office, mainly to protect us against the office dogs’ various… smells.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

AFTA and CLIA bring back NTIA and the port & destination showcase

Polish your dancing shoes because it’s industry events galore as the two peak bodies reveal the return of two much sought-after happenings.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

Breaking News

Jetstar CEO to step down as Qantas promises $5,000 boost to employees and more domestic capacity cuts

It’s a day of mixed emotions for Qantas and Jetstar staff today, with bouts of cheering and sobbing breaking out at an alarming rate.

Share

CommentComments

Events

Save the date! Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania announces dates for ‘Aloha Down Under’ roadshow 2022   

by sponsored by Hawai‘i Tourism Oceania

Get your diaries out because Australia and New Zealand’s biggest annual Hawai‘i Roadshow, Aloha Down Under, is on from the 22nd to 29th August 2022. 

Share

CommentComments

Hotels

Marriott launch home rental collection for ANZ

Marriott has launched its new home-rental collection while the Travel Weekly staff have decided to launch a Pokémon cards collection. It’s not quite as significant but at least it’s something.

Share

CommentComments

Road & Rail

Avis launches high-end car rental brand for luxe travellers

Got any clients looking to indulge in their midlife crisis without going the whole hog? We’ve got good news.

Share

CommentComments

Travel Agents

TravelManagers announce speakers for national conference

We heard that the muppets will be there, but we have been watching a lot of Sesame Street lately so we could be getting confused.

Share

CommentComments

Aviation

“I thought I was going to die”: Passenger plane catches fire on runway

Don’t worry, the photo shows a white chemical foam used to put out the fire, not a random snowfall confined to a 30-metre area in Miami as you may assume from a first glance.

Share

CommentComments