Two teen boys originally from Chicago were confirmed to be among the eight victims who died from Monday’s devastating volcanic eruption in New Zealand, school officials said.
Matthew and Berend Hollander, 13 and 16, who had been living in Australia, died in a hospital, their school said in a Wednesday letter sent out to parents of students.
The boys had been touring White Island with their parents, Martin Hollander, 48, and Barbara Hollander, 50, when the volcano erupted. The parents are still unaccounted for, the school says.
“Please take some time to reflect on the lives of Matthew and Ben and this devastating loss for our community,” read the letter from Knox Grammar School.
Berend was involved in various sports and extracurricular activities at the school — with passions for both baseball and the Australian Football League, the school said. He also had an interest in software design.
Matthew played on the school’s basketball, squash and debate teams — and was elected as a mentor representative during the 2018-2019 school year.
Both boys were involved in the Australian Army Cadets program.
As of Thursday morning local time, eight others who were on the island are still missing and presumed dead.
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