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11 Australians missing, 13 injured in New Zealand eruption

SeattlePI.com Tuesday, 10 December 2019
CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia’s prime minister said on Tuesday 11 Australians remained unaccounted for and 13 had been hospitalized after a volcano eruption in New Zealand.

Three Australians were suspected to be among the initial five confirmed dead, Prime Minister Scott Morrison told reporters in Sydney.

“I fear there is worse news to come over the course of perhaps today or over the next few days,” Morrison said.

“This is a terrible tragedy, a time of great innocence and joy interrupted by the horror of that eruption,” he added.

Australians were the largest group of nationalities that were exploring White Island when it erupted on Monday.

The 24 injured and unaccounted, whose ages range from 17 to 72, had been part of a tour group from the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Ovation of the Seas, which had left Sydney last week for a New Zealand voyage.

Morrison, a former director of the New Zealand Office of Tourism and Sport who has visited White Island in the past, said Australian police who specialize in identifying disaster victims was flying to New Zealand on Tuesday.

Several Australians were in critical condition at burn units in New Zealand hospitals, he said.

Frantic father Brian Dallow, of Adelaide, South Australia, said his lawyer son Gavin Dallow, 53, his partner Lisa Hosking, 48, and her daughter Zoe Hosking, 15, were among those whose fates were uncertain.

“They were in the island, that’s now been confirmed, but whether they got off or what happened we don’t know,” Dallow told Australian Broadcasting Corp.

“This is the worst. If we knew that something happened to them, it would better than this waiting, I can tell you at the moment. Because we just have to hold our horses and hope for the best,” he added.

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News video: At least five dead after New Zealand eruption

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At least five people are now confirmed to have died after a volcano erupted off the east coast of New Zealand's North Island, police confirmed on Monday. Ryan Brooks reports.

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