Wellington – Another person died in an Auckland hospital as a result of injuries suffered over seven weeks ago when a volcano erupted on New Zealand’s Whakaari White Island, police said on Wednesday.
“The announcement brings the official death toll in the disaster to 21.
“Nineteen people died in New Zealand and two in Australia,’’ Deputy Commissioner John Tims said in a statement.
There were 47 people sightseeing on the privately owned island when the volcano erupted on Dec. 9, 2019.
Tims said that of these, 21 died and almost 20 are still receiving treatment in burn units in New Zealand and Australia.
Radio New Zealand reported that the equivalent of 14 full human bodies’ worth of skin has been used to try save the lives of the injured.
White Island, New Zealand’s most active volcano lies 48 kilometres off the eastern coast of New Zealand’s North Island.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said after the tragedy that New Zealand’s workplace health and safety regulator Worksafe had launched an investigation.
Police said an investigation on behalf of the coroner was also ongoing.