15 confirmed dead following Whakaari / White Island eruption

Police can confirm another person has died following the eruption on Whakaari / White Island, bringing the official toll to 15.

The person was earlier being treated at Waikato Hospital.

Police remain focused on supporting families at this terrible time said Deputy Commissioner John Tims.

Two more bodies are still missing.

Police have indicated they intend to return to White Island tomorrow for a land search for the two bodies still unaccounted for, pending conditions in the morning.

“The water around the island is contaminated, requiring the divers to take extra precautions to ensure their safety, including using specialist protective equipment,” police said in a statement.

“Divers have reported seeing a number of dead fish and eels washed ashore and floating in the water.”

“Each time they surface, the divers are decontaminated using fresh water.”

New Zealanders will observce a minute’s silence at 2.11pm on Monday 16 December in honour of the victims of the Whakaari / White Island eruption, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced.

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