As police divers searched for the two remaining victims of Monday’s volcano eruption in contaminated waters around New Zealand’s White Island on Saturday, the first name of a victim was officially released.
Krystal Eve Browitt, 21, of Melbourne, Australia, was identified as one of the 15 people killed when the volcano suddenly erupted. Browitt was visiting the island with her family. Her father, Paul, and sister, Stephanie, were both seriously injured and remain hospitalized, the BBC reported, among about 20 people who suffered serious burns from the searing water and ash.
Some friends and families have announced that their loved ones were killed in the eruption, but Browitt is the first victim formally identified by the police.
Two teens originally from Chicago, Matthew and Berend Hollander, 13 and 16, who had been living in Australia, died in a hospital following the eruptions. Their parents, Martin Hollander, 48, and Barbara Hollander, 50, also a Chicago native, were among the missing earlier in the week.
In a risky operation Friday, military specialists wearing yellow hazmat suits and breathing apparatuses recovered six bodies from the island, but could not locate the last two victims. One may have been sighted in the water close to the island but rescue teams on Tuesday.
The two still missing are thought to be a tour guide and the captain of a boat that had taken tourists to the island.
Authorities say 24 Australians, nine Americans, five New Zealanders, four Germans, two Britons, two Chinese and a Malaysian were on the island at the time. Many were from a Royal Caribbean cruise ship that had left Sydney two days earlier.
The water around the island is at near-zero visibility, and the ash and other fallout from the eruption have made the sea near the island toxic and divers have to be washed clean after every completed dive, Reuters reported. Dead fish and eels are washing ashore and floating in the water. Navy divers were expected to join the search effort later Saturday.
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