White Island: Police identify 3 more victims

Brothers Matthew Hollander (left) and Berend Hollander both died in hospital after suffering...
Brothers Matthew Hollander (left) and Berend Hollander both died in hospital after suffering injuries from Monday's White Island eruption. Photo: Supplied to RNZ
Two teenage brothers are among the three latest victims to be formally identified by police.

Police have named 16-year-old Berend Lawrence Hollander, 13-year-old Matthew Robert Hollander and Karla Michelle Mathews, 32, as victims of Monday's eruption.

Earlier today, three other victims were identified; Australian citizens, Zoe Ella Hosking, 15; Gavin Brian Dallow, 53, and Anthony James Langford, 51.

Tipene Maangi began working as a guide for White Island Tours in Whakatāne earlier this year, speaking to tourists about Māori culture and taking them on to the island.

His friend Shaniah Semmens said: "He suits this job, honestly, and I was mad at him because I applied for it too and I messaged him and was like, you were supposed to leave that job for me." Semmens said Maangi moved to Whakatāne a few years ago and lived there with his nan, who he worshipped.

The recovery teams returned to Whakatāne Airport after a fruitless search this morning. Photo: RNZ
The recovery teams returned to Whakatāne Airport after a fruitless search this morning. Photo: RNZ

Zoe Ella Hosking, from Adelaide, was on holiday in New Zealand with her mother, Lisa Hosking, and her stepfather, Gavin Dallow. "Our hearts break at the loss of Zoe at such a young age," Dallow's family said.

The family called Dallow "a wonderful son and brother. We'll miss him at the cricket and we'll miss him at the football. He was a generous man, always helping his family and his community."

Zoe's mother and Dallow's wife, Lisa, remains in hospital in a critical condition.

Anthony Langford, from New South Wales, was travelling on the cruise liner Ovation of the Seas, with his wife, Kristine, and two children, Winona and Jesse, to celebrate his birthday. His wife and daughter are missing and believed dead.

The official death toll from the Whakaari/White Island eruption is now 16 after one of the victims who had been repatriated to Australia died yesterday.

Police advised of the death this afternoon, adding that as the person will come under Australia’s coronial jurisdiction, New Zealand authorities will not be responsible for releasing their name.

News of the death came after police and Navy divers resumed searching this afternoon for the two remaining bodies at White Island, after a fruitless search earlier today.

The body recovery team returned to the mainland this morning after spending 75 minutes on the island without success.

Deputy Police Commissioner Mike Clement confirmed the teams were unable to find either of the last two bodies.

Tipene Maangi was one of two Kiwi tour guides killed in Monday's eruption. Photo via NZ Herald
Tipene Maangi was one of two Kiwi tour guides killed in Monday's eruption. Photo via NZ Herald

He described the situation as "tough going for everybody", but said police would not give up easily on returning the bodies to loved ones.

"We understand completely how frustrating it is for loved ones who want the bodies back."

"Everyone went out there desperate to find the bodies."

"It's been a blow for police," Clement said.

The team arrived ashore just after 8.30am today and had enough oxygen for 75 minutes.

The police had said they would go to an area where the best information suggested a body might be.

The teams were wearing the same protective clothing as the Defence Force personnel who recovered the bodies on Friday.

A police Eagle helicopter circled be above the island with a GNS scientist on board monitoring the environment in real-time.

The team arrived ashore just after 8.30am today and had enough oxygen for 75 minutes.

Yesterday, a Police National Dive Squad of nine members searched the waters around White Island for a body seen in the water following Monday's volcanic eruption.

However, "unique and challenging" weather conditions hindered the water search and no additional bodies on the six recovered on Friday was made.

Police Deputy Commissioner John Tims said conditions in the water around White Island yesterday were "not optimal" with between zero and two metres visibility.

"The water around the island is contaminated, requiring the divers to take extra precautions to ensure their safety, including using specialist protective equipment," Tims said.

"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."

The recovery mission under way on Friday. Photo by New Zealand Defence Force via Getty Images
The recovery mission under way on Friday. Photo by New Zealand Defence Force via Getty Images
Yesterday's water search started at 7am, and was bolstered by the navy dive squad in the afternoon, but did not extend to a further land search of the island itself.

Planning was, however, undertaken to conduct further land-based searches of the island for the two remaining bodies.

Yesterday afternoon, police officially released the name of the first victim from last week's disaster as 21-year-old Melbourne woman Krystal Browitt.

Vet nursing student Krystal Browitt turned 21 on November 29, less than a week before her family boarded the Ovation of the Seas cruise - aboard which she was celebrating her birthday.

As of 4pm yesterday, 17 injured patients, 11 of them critically, in the White Island eruption were spread across Middlemore, Waikato, Hutt Valley and Christchurch hospitals.

1 NEWS reported yesterday that patients in Middlemore Hospital will remain there for months.

A burns surgeon from Australia arrived at Middlemore Friday night, and went straight into theatre yesterday morning.

Middlemore's Dr Peter Watson praised the help and support from across New Zealand and around the world.

"There are incredible responses, amazing people and I just really want to say thank you to all those people," Watson told 1 NEWS.

"It's been a really long week. We're making sure to get people home and rested because the work won't stop today, tomorrow or this week.

"It's really important that everybody looks after themselves."

Packed in cardboard boxes and lined with foam and dry ice 15 donors-worth of skin is en route to New Zealand from Ohio - nearly 14,000km away.

The shipment is part of the 120sq m of skin, 60 donors' worth, needed to help treat White Island eruption victims' terrible burn injuries.

Police also announced yesterday that the bodies recovered off White Island have been taken to Auckland for the post mortem and disaster victim identification process.

Police DVI experts, forensic pathologists, ESR, odontologists and the Coroner's office, will now undertake the process of identifying victims and releasing bodies to families.

"This is a long and complex process and we are working as quickly as possible to return loved ones to their families," Deputy Commissioner Tims said.

 - additional reporting RNZ

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